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The Quarterly


Rural Health Continuing Education Stream 1 Round 1 Funding Announcements Print E-mail
The Quarterly 2011


The Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges has just announced its funding allocations from Round One of RHCE Stream One. Of the 42 individual CPD grant applications received, 23 applications supported by nine Specialist Medical Colleges were approved. The total amount of funds allocated is $86,102. Of the 24 applications for project grants, 12 were supported from eight Specialist Medical Colleges, six of these being collaborative projects with other Colleges. The total amount of funds committed in this funding round is $2,095,089.

RACMA funded project
RACMA was successful in funding their program entitled A National Management and Leadership Peer Review Group for Clinician Managers. This was motivated from the results of a rural member’s survey that established a need for peer support for professionally and geographically isolated individuals. This project will establish a network of managers and leaders throughout Australia who come together bimonthly in a one hour facilitated web conference to present and discuss their own workplace related cases with peers.

Two cases will be shortlisted and discussed at each meeting (40 minutes) and the facilitator’s summary of the challenges presented, the strategies employed, and the alternatives discussed will conclude the session. The facilitator’s summary notes along with an audio recording will be available as a resource to participants and as a stimulant for further discussion via a secure discussion forum on the RACMA website. This network will be open to specialist medical managers (Fellows of the RACMA), specialists from other Colleges and clinicians who occupy management or leadership roles.

Other CPD projects supported
The successful project applications from Round One of funding by RHCE Stream One are:

Indigenous Health and Cultural Safety Online: A Dermatological Perspective
Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD)

This project aims to develop a media-rich module to support the continuing professional development of College Fellows and Trainees in the area of Indigenous health and cultural safety with emphasis on the dermatological perspective.

The module will provide training and support materials related to Indigenous health and safety with specific focus on dermatological issues. It is designed to be aligned with currently available general training courses such as that provided by the Australian Indigenous Health InfoNet and with the Australasian College of Dermatology’s current Professional Qualities Curriculum and will encompass issues such as:

  • Historical and cultural contexts
  • Communication
  • Chronic disease and its management
  • Ensuring optimal care through multi-disciplinary involvement
  • Cultural competency
  • Understanding the unique cultural history of people and how it impacts on their health
  • Applying cultural knowledge in managing and treating patients and family
  • Quality and safety in practice
  • Effective communication

Echocardiography and Ultrasound Training in Alice Springs Hospital
College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM)

This project is designed to allow specialists across a number of different specialties at Alice Springs Hospital obtain the skills required to perform clinically appropriate screening ultrasound.

The course will be run at Alice Springs Hospital. Participants will attend a short course on performing clinical screening ultrasounds and then sessions will be set with an echo cardiographer and ultrasonographer for skills transfer with the ability to do the Certificate of Clinical Ultrasound. The level of expertise gained will allow both clinical confidence in the ultrasound and the ability of the specialists to teach trainees and credential trainees where required.

Australian Aboriginal Child Health Short Course
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)

This course has been developed in response to the need for improved cultural awareness in health care delivery and in understanding the role of cultural and socio economic determinants in health outcomes.

The 4-module course will cover:

  • Cultural awareness relating to Aboriginal families and communities
  • The social determinants of Aboriginal child health
  • The spectrum of common illnesses in Aboriginal children in remote and urban settings
  • Developmental problems, including Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and the effects of early life trauma

The modules will be supported by online forums and the course will conclude with a workshop where participants and other interested parties can discuss issues that have been raised in the modules and forums as well as other Indigenous health issues. The program will be developed in partnership with Nindilingarri Cultural Health services (Fitzroy Valley).

Using Simulation and the Theme of the Deteriorating Patient to Develop Skills and Training Capacity in Rural and Remote Multi-Professional Teams
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)

This project is a mentoring program which will up-skill specialists as educators and support them to deliver simulation and skills-focussed training workshops to multi-professional teams working within their local facilities and regions. The training workshops will cover a range of topics aimed at improving clinical and professional skills; and will be presented within the theme of 'the deteriorating patient'.

The course will comprise approximately four to six up-skilling workshops, between one to three train-the-trainer workshops and on-going mentoring of specialists. Mentoring will be provided by a multi-professional team of clinical educators, clinicians, communication experts, educational and project staff from the Sydney Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre (SCSSC). Specialists can participate in any one or more of the courses as standalone activities. Alternatively, they can complete a full mentoring program, if they work at a facility that wishes to sign up to deliver a rural workshop.

Enhancing Rural Health Outcome Measurement
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)

This course will focus on the area of health outcome management and will comprise two videoconferences and a residential workshop. The first video conference will cover practical issues for rural specialists applying health outcome measurement and the second videoconference will cover designing rural research projects/proposals using health outcomes measurement. The workshop will focus on assessing patient outcomes in rural clinical practice.

Rural Procedural Audit
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)

This project aims to provide an electronic data collect tool that facilitates the collation and individualised reporting of comprehensive audit data for selected procedures carried out in the rural areas. It will provide support for fifteen rural centres over three years as well as individual surgeons to collect and analyse audit data in key craft group procedures using an electronic data collection program called File Maker Pro. To achieve the best outcomes the audit cycle will concentrate on areas of clinical importance, continue over time and involve a cycle of analysis, reflection, dissemination and education

Indigenous Health and Cultural Competency Online Portal
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)

The Australian Medical Council has indicated to medical colleges that training in Indigenous cultural awareness and safety is a priority.

This project will create a portal to link and/or house the Indigenous health professional development opportunities for the Medical Colleges pertaining to cultural competency and cultural safety training e.g. online modules, information websites, conferences, specialty workshops and other forums. This will result in easier access to cultural competency and Indigenous health educational resources enabling the Indigenous and cultural competency and safety learning needs of the colleges to be met and ensuring that the Indigenous health resources meet the aims and standards of the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges National Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Curriculum Framework.

Australian Indigenous Health Elearning Modules
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)

This project aims to improve surgeons’ understanding of Indigenous cultural issues which impact on their Indigenous patients’ health care outcomes.The project incorporates a series of online learning modules with face-to-face workshops aimed at promoting a multi-disciplinary approach by specialists in rural and remote locations who care for Indigenous patients. The project focuses on educating specialists on Indigenous-specific medical issues. The online content will focus on issues that reflect the complexity of working with Indigenous communities in an often fragmented system that makes delivery of health care difficult.

There will be two face-to-face workshops offered to further explore the issues raised in the module forums.

Clinical Audit for Rural Specialists
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO)

In this project Ophthalmologists will be provided with auditing software to assist in the collection and reporting of cataract surgery outcome. Data will be collected preoperatively, intra-operatively and postoperatively. The data collected will allow a variety of outcomes to be assessed and analysed. Ophthalmologists will be able to compare their own outcomes with the group figure and the group figures can be compared with other published data.

Practical Obstetric Multi-Professional Training (PROMPT)
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RANZCOG)

The PROMPT program was developed in the United Kingdom in response to the identified need to reduce risks associated with obstetric care. PROMPT delivers multi-professional obstetric emergency training within hospitals using teamwork and simulation methods. Studies have found that one of the root causes of risk in maternity is the lack of multidisciplinary training in the management of obstetric emergencies. PROMPT is a train the trainer program that facilitates the training of obstetricians, anaesthetists, paediatricians, GPs and midwives within their own maternity units in the essential principles of managing obstetric emergencies such as:

  • Maternal collapse
  • Severe pre-eclampsia
  • Maternal cardiac arrest
  • Major obstetric haemorrhage
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Cord prolapse
  • Vaginal breech
  • Neonatal resuscitation

The simulation training will enable teams to practice drills in response to these emergencies.

Practice Visit Coordination
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)

RANZCP will develop a coordination process for practice visits for rural psychiatrists and other rural mental health practitioners.

In a Practice Visit, one practitioner visits the practice of another to review how well the practice meets the relevant profession’s practice guidelines. For psychiatrists, these are the RANZCP ‘Guidelines for Outpatient Psychiatric Practice’. Firstly, the project will establish a database of mental health practitioners interested in hosting and/or visiting a practice. The database will then be used to match up practitioners (from the equivalent professional group). Practice visits are conducted in two stages, and the project will provide support at both stages.

During the first visit, the guest interviews the host, reviews their practice against relevant professional guidelines and agrees on a development plan for the practice. The second stage takes place between 6 and 12 months after the first visit. This visit provides an opportunity to review the effectiveness of the planned changes. The second stage of the visit may be conducted in person, or via phone, Skype or video conference

Most of these projects are multi-disciplinary and open to members of other specialty medical colleges to participate in. Further information on the successful project applications and project coordinator contact details, can been found by clicking on the ‘project’ tab on this website www.ruralspecialist.org.au .

Next funding round
There will be a new funding round for RHCE Projects later this year. The funding round 2 is scheduled for May / June 2011 and will be announced on the RACMA website.

RHCE newsletter
The RHCE Stream One has just launched their RHCE Newsletter. This will keep rural specialists up to date with CPD activities and events funded by the program. It will also include articles and information of interest to rural and remote specialists. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter please go to the RHCE website www.ruralspecialist.org.au and click the Subscribe Now button or contact the RHCE Program Management Unit at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 02 9256 5419.

See www.ruralspecialist.org.au for more information about any of the RHCE Stream One Programs.

The Rural Health and Continuing Education sub-program (RHCE) - Stream One, is funded by the Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing and managed by the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC).

Ms Michelle Barrett
Curriculum and Training Coordinator

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