Medical Education Advanced Training Modules in the spotlight

RANZCOG

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Updated
4 December 2023

RANZCOG’s Medical Education Advanced Training Module (ATM) aims to build on the Clinical Education Training Program to create a sound foundation in principles and understanding of educational theory and practice. The Education ATM is designed to be equivalent in exposure to a Postgraduate Certificate of Health Professional Education.

Fellow Dr Katrina Calvert, who is Deputy Chair of the College’s Simulation Training Advisory Group (STAG), said: “The launch of the Education ATM marks a real milestone for RANZCOG as our first ATM to formally recognise the areas of our practice that fall outside traditional clinical experience. Teaching, supervision, feedback provision and leadership are all essential skills for a Fellow, and it is wonderful to see them being promoted in this way. The development of the ATM was a true team effort, with experts from the College Education and Training team working collaboratively with Fellows with experience in and passion for education. We hope to see the ATM being taken up by future Advanced trainees with the same enthusiasm with which our pilot trainees approached it, as we begin to grow a true community of practice of educators under the RANZCOG banner.”

Find out more about the Education ATM

We also spoke to two graduates of the Education ATM to get their thoughts and what they have learnt.

Dr Kate Needham

Why did you decide to pursue the Education ATM pathway?

One of the parts of working in medicine that I enjoy the most is teaching and supervising junior doctors. I was fortunate enough to get some hands-on experience doing this volunteering as a Senior Registrar in Timor Leste through the Australian Volunteers Program. After this experience I realised I had very little formal knowledge or skills on how to develop a curriculum, give feedback or how to write and conduct exams, so I wanted to further my background knowledge in this.

Undertaking the Education ATM at King Edward Memorial Hospital as the Postgraduate Education Medical Education (PGME) Senior Registrar was the perfect way to get more practical on-the-job experience in all of these areas, plus simulation, whilst being mentored by and expert teacher like Dr Calvert. At the same time, I also decided to undertake a Graduate Certificate of Clinical Teaching with the University of Melbourne part time, which gave me good background knowledge on education theory and principles of curriculum development, exam writing and delivering feedback.

Your experience completing it?

It was great to be able to put the theories and principles I learnt during my graduate certificate and within the ATM module to use during my 12 months as PGME senior registrar. Combining part-time study and fulltime work is always a challenge, however for prospective applicants to the education ATM, they are not required to sign up to formal study in this area, and will find they get enough experience and knowledge through the ATM without doing this.

The PGME job at King Edward Memorial Hospital is structured so that 0.5 FTE is devoted to education and 0.5 FTE devoted to clinical duties. I found this was a great balance, giving me plenty of time to do the ATM and practice my education skills, whilst still keeping my clinical skills up to date. When I speak to people who are considering doing the education ATM their biggest concern seems to be loss of clinical skills. I certainly don’t think my clinical skills were disadvantaged by doing the ATM, and in fact I think I gained many valuable leadership, management and communication skills that I would not have had the opportunity to gain otherwise, by being part of committees and chairing meetings. The PGME job and Education ATM gives you so many diverse skills, not to mention things to add to your CV, that make you a more well-rounded and competitive candidate when applying for consultant jobs.

What did you enjoy the most about it?

I enjoyed the hands on and face-to-face elements of teaching, such as learning how to run and debrief a simulation, from my mentor Dr Calvert. I also enjoyed supporting junior doctors and trainees in their journey by providing career mentorship advice to our incoming RMOs, being part of the formal King Edward Memoria Hospital mentor program to RMOs applying for RANZCOG training, supporting trainees and DRANZCOG candidates with their exam preparation by running mock written and OSCE exams, as well as running the interview preparation program for RANZCOG training applicants. These were all extremely rewarding endeavors and helped promote positive culture within our organisation and develop positive relationships between junior and senior doctors.

What do you hope it will do for your career?

I’m already putting my skills and knowledge to use as a newly minted consultant generalist O&G at the Royal Darwin Hospital where I am overseeing the departmental education program as well as the medical students rotating through our department. I hope it will lead me to further work within the medical school helping them to develop their O&G curriculum. I know my training will also stand me in good stead in future as a training supervisor and mentor to junior doctors within our department.

Dr Pranali Desai

Why did you decide to pursue the Education ATM pathway?

I’ve always been passionate about medical education. When I was approached about being involved in the Education ATM pilot program I saw it as an opportunity to advance my own knowledge in the area while helping run a department wide education program. As well as this, I loved the idea of helping RANZCOG launch a completely new programme in an area I have a special interest in, an area that is critical to all of us, and is under-represented in our training.

Your experience completing it?

I had an excellent mentor and supervisor, so was well supported going into the ATM. The hardest part was navigating the requirements. Because the ATM was brand new, there wasn’t initially a lot of clarity as to what was expected to achieve completion. However, in the end this was a blessing in disguise as I really was able to make it my own and concentrate on the parts of medical education I was most interested in. By the end, there had been so many varied teaching opportunities within the hospital and university that it was no problem completing the ATM requirements.

What did you enjoy the most about it?

I loved the flexibility. As stated, I was able to concentrate on the parts of medical education that appealed to me most, which for me was simulation. Even though the ATM is more structured now, the elective modules mean it will continue to be easy to tailor it to your interest and what your department needs or excels at.

As well as this, the Education ATM gave me a mental break from clinical medicine and an opportunity to flex different mental muscles. You can be much more creative than you normally would be at work, with less emphasis on following strict structures, protocols and guidelines.

I also really enjoyed working with a wide variety of people I wouldn’t normally be able to and have made some friendships along the way. The education teams and simulation faculty were fabulous. I was able to work closely with ED teams, midwifery educators and university staff. The bridges I have built and relationships I’ve developed will continue to help me as I go forward in my career.

What do you hope it will do for your career?

Completing the ATM has already opened doors for me. The experience has helped me to secure a position with the Faculty of Medicine at UQ, kick starting an academic career in medical education that I hope to grow along-side my clinical career. The principles I have learnt through education and simulation have far-reaching applications, including in my day-to-day clinical work. We are, of course, always teaching in an informal way when working with medical students, residents and junior registrars- the skills are directly transferable there. As well as this, it has given me insight into the needs of a multi-disciplinary team. The skills from facilitating simulations are also excellent for debriefing real-life clinical events. All in all, the Education ATM has made me a much more rounded professional, with skills outside just clinical practice which I hope will make me an asset to any team going forward.

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