Committed to Education

While your immediate concern as a new Intern is likely to revolve around surviving in whatever clinical environment you get thrown into and fitting into the organisational structure, you also need to be thinking long-term about your ongoing learning and career direction. This section is designed to get you thinking about some of the support structures available to help you with this.

The Director Pre-vocational Training and Education (DPET)

What is a DPET, why do they exist, what do they do and why should interns be interested?

The answer is that the DPET exists to be an intern advocate. The role arises from the fact that, as a medical student, the people responsible for your training and development are quite obvious. Likewise, if you stay in the hospital long enough and find your way onto a specialty training program, the answer to the question of who is responsible for your education and development is, again, quite clear.

But who is looking out for your interests in between medical school and specialty training?

This is a large part of the role of DPET. That is not to imply that the RSU and medical administration will not look after your interests at Westmead, though we know that some hospitals do have a chequered history in this regard.

At Westmead, the DPET is available full-time and is involved in providing educational opportunities, acting on your feedback, facilitating support and encouragement, providing career advice and direction and working with RSU to look after your needs. The DPET will formally meet with every intern at least once during the year, is required to countersign your end-of-term assessments and will provide advice to the Medical Board of Australia at the end of internship regarding your progression to general registration.

Our approach to being DPET is to be as accessible as possible. You can drop into the office on Level 3 of the Education Block, or email us at [email protected] or  [email protected].

The Intern Education Program

The two regular teaching sessions each week are the formal JMO teaching program, every Thursday between 1pm and 2pm in the Education Block, and Simulation Training for After-Hour Residents (STAR), each Wednesday afternoon between 2:30pm and 4pm in the Simulation Centre on Level 3, for relievers on afternoon shifts.

The Thursday lunch sessions largely align with the HETI JMO curriculum. Apart from getting educated, it's a great time to catch up with colleagues and get some free lunch. Pages have to be turned in at the door, as this is protected teaching time and all ward-based interns are expected to attend. Relievers or ED staff who are not rostered on at the time are always welcome, but obviously there is no compulsion. You can also stream the presentation wherever you are. 

In addition to the weekly education program, we run special events throughout the year such as the half-day Acute Crisis Simulation Training (ACTS) and Breaking Bad News, facilitated by the Pam McLean Centre.

There is also no shortage of wider educational activities at Westmead. ED runs tutorials for the junior staff four mornings per week, Medical Grand Rounds takes place every Wednesday lunchtime in the auditorium and virtually every department runs their own teaching on a regular basis. Plus which, we have a fantastic library with immediate access to an almost unlimited supply of up-to-date clinical information.

For those who want to try their hand at teaching, the Westmead Clinical School is always happy to discuss this with you.

Careers Advice

As a long time medical administrator, I have been involved in thousands of medical interviews and have some insight into what the different training schemes are looking for, how you might need to prepare, and who you should talk to.

Worrying about your future career seems to be a popular intern pastime, so I encourage you to approach me with your career plans and direction.

When you become an RMO, I will provide specific tutorials about CV preparation and job applications and host well as mock interviews.

You will find an excellent resource provided by NSW health called Map My Health Career, which gives you a lot of useful information about every career pathway. You may wonder whether the DPET can add much value to what is a very comprehensive site. I would argue that I can, because:

  • I can give you more detailed information about the Westmead environment
  • I can keep you aware of developing trends
  • I have a little more understanding of some of the early steps before getting onto the training program

Another useful resource is the HETI document - The Doctors GPS - A Career Guide for JMOs. This can suffer from being a little out-of-date (the current version in 2016) and ultimately you will find more comprehensive information on the individual college websites, but it's a useful overview and a good starting point.

Anyway... if you have any questions you are always welcome to come and have a chat.

Term Supervisors and Term Assessments

Every term you are allocated to will have a nominated Term Supervisor who should facilitate your orientation to the term, ensure you are adequately supervised and provide mid-term and end-of-term feedback. The Term Supervisor is usually clearly identified on the Term Description, though occasionally departments share or rotate this responsibility. If it is unclear, you should ask when you start the term.

Mid- and end-of-term assessments will be documented on the official HETI forms. These align with the Intern Outcome Statements and the intent is that you complete a self-assessment and then discuss this with your supervisor, who adds in their own evaluation. 

These forms have to be retained by the hospital but they are confidential and will not be released without your permission. The forms have to be countersigned by the DPET and provide the basis for longitudinal oversight. They are critical to the hospital's capacity to make a recommendation to AHRPA at the end of your internship regarding your progression to general registration.

You will find that various training programs may ask you for access to these forms further down the track, therefore it is advised that you always make your own copy when you submit the original. These forms should be submitted to Lauren McGroder (Education Support Officer) at the end of each term. Failure to do so will result in progressively less polite reminders.

The only term where we do not require end-of-term assessments is Relief.

At the end of each term we will also ask for your evaluation, an important driver of change. This information is also confidential and your individual responses will never be provided to Term Supervisors, although the data is collated annually and provided in summary.

Term Descriptions and ROVERs

Before you start each new term, you should read through the Term Description and ROVER, a document created and maintained by JMOs. Term descriptions will be useful, but should never replace a proper handover from the outgoing JMO. In Term 1, you will have a whole week handing over with the outgoing JMO and this should be an ideal opportunity to answer all your questions. Later on in the year you won't have the luxury of an extended handover, so the Term Description and ROVER assume a greater significance. If you notice any errors in the Term Description, you should contact Lauren McGroder at [email protected]

The HETI Intern Guide

The question of what you should have achieved after 12 months of internship is a complex one. The Australian Medical Council (AMC) Intern Outcome Statements provide you with a guide, but they're quite non-specific. We are moving towards the implementation of 'Entrustable Professional Activities' and the use of log books, but this is still a little way off and won't impact you as Interns.

In the meantime, HETI have produced the comprehensive Intern Guide which attempts to translate the statements into practical activities that help you to focus on your personal goals as you rotate through each term.

If you want to know more about this, you should talk to the DPET. 

Pre-Vocational Clinical Training Committee (PCTC)

One of the pre-vocation accreditation standards is that every hospital must have a Pre-Vocational Clinical Training Committee. This is the peak body bringing together JMOs, senior clinicians and key administrators. It has oversight over the circumstances under which JMOs work and learn. The committee meets once per month and all interns and RMOs are invited to participate either in-person or by referring issues to appear on the agenda.

When it comes to applying for jobs in two years' time, one thing that always impresses is those doctors who are prepared to contribute to the fabric of the hospital and make an effort to improve the way things are organised. Regular participation in the PCTC is one way you can do this.

HETI Accreditation

It is important to understand that the hospital is required to adhere to accreditation standards which govern the working and teaching environment for JMOs. You can find out more about HETI and the accreditation process here.

Some of you may even want to be come a HETI JMO surveyor and be involved in the accreditation process of other hospitals. This always gives a unique insight into how hospital systems are organised and can be arranged by contacting HETI.

Completing Internship and General Registration

At the end of your intern year, the hospital is required to issue a certificate of completion of accredited internship before AHPRA will allow you to progress from provisional to general registration. In order to be eligible for this you need to have completed:

  • 10 weeks of medicine
  • 10 weeks of surgery
  • 8 weeks of ED
  • 47 weeks in total (excluding annual leave)
The hospital is obliged to allocate terms which will meet these requirements and you should never need to worry about this, although if you have any concerns in this regard you should raise them with the DPET.

Given your academic backgrounds, it is hardly surprising that we almost never withhold a certificate of completion of an accredited internship. Should this occur, it should never be a surprise because the issues should have been discussed with you well in advance. This would require that a concern be raised during an end-of-term assessment and, following that, an agreed Improving Performance Action Plan (IPAP) formulated to address these issues.


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