On the 3rd of December 2010, all RACMA Associate Fellows were circulated an electronic link to the Annual AFRACMA Survey via Survey Monkey. All Associate Fellows were invited to participate via an email from the National Office, with further reminders sent a fortnight following, then one week prior to the submission date. The submission date was delayed by a week in order to allow for more respondents to complete the survey. 55 Associate Fellows completed the survey, out of a possible 175.
- Recommend that the Continuing Education Program Committee (CEPC) develop a series of webinars on various topics for continuing education of the Fellows.
- Recommend that the CEPC further revise the Activities Table to increase its rigour, direction, flexibility for occupation and compulsory activities. Map this to the RACMA curriculum roles and other specialty medical colleges.
- Recommend that the CEPC investigates with the other specialist medical colleges' reciprocal recognition of the continuing professional development programs of each college.
Job titles of participants can be grouped into the following categories:
- Chief Executive Officer: (2)
- Executive Director of Medical Services, Director of Medical Services, Deputy Director of Medical Services, Chief Medical Officers, Chief Health Officers, Medical Directors : (20)
- Clinician: (8)
- Academia i.e. Professor, dean, lecturer in medical education: (3)
- Director of Clinical Services: (3)
- Advisor: (2)
- Consultant: (2)
- Retired: (2)
- Student: (2)
- Medical Administrator: (1)
Approximately two thirds of the respondents are employed in Metropolitan regions and a similar proportion in the Public Health sector. The number of Private Health sector and Self-Employed respondents was roughly equal. The job titles, and percentages of each, were roughly equivalent to those of the Fellows that took part in the Annual FRACMA Survey.
Question 3: Respondents are employed in a variety of business sectors, with the majority of respondents taking on multiple roles within their organisation (consequently, the numbers below do not correlate directly with those from the previous question):
- Hospital: (34)
- Specialist consulting / clinical work: (14)
- Government Department (Health): (8)
- Academia (Teaching): (9)
- Academia (Research): (7)
- Other: (22)
Responses grouped into ‘6. Other’ included areas such as General Practice, Training, Management Consulting, NGOs, Legal, Medical Publishing, and Retirees.
Question 4: When asked what motivated them to join RACMA, many respondents provided multiple reasons. The most common were:
- The administration experience and qualifications
- CPD opportunities
- Professional support and advice from College members
- RACMA is the relevant specialist college
- Suggestion/recommendation from a college Fellow or Member
A number of respondents also mentioned an interest in medical administration, but very few mentioned wanting to attain Fellowship of the college. When asked, however, about their intentions for the next 5/10 years (Question 7), 8 Associate Fellows responded that they were considering undertaking the requirements for Fellowship of the college.
Question 5: The range of benefits that is associated with membership of RACMA is viewed positively. Each listed membership attribute was rated as a 'High Priority' by more than 50% of the survey participants. In particular, the Sense of 'professional belonging' to the college was rated highly by 75.5% of surveyed Associate Fellows, closely followed by RACMA’s professional development activities (70.4%), Recognition as a clinical manager (69.8%) and Access to college resources (69.2%).
On the other hand, whilst none exceeded 50%, the number of respondents who rated the benefits as Low Priority or Not a Priority was surprisingly high when considering the attributes of Access to the network of AFRACMA (45.2%), Access to the network of FRACMA (44.2%) and The post nominal AFRACMA (43.4%).
Question 6: A large portion (42.6%) of the survey group spends less than 20% of their time engaged in clinical work. The remainder of the sample is spread more consistently across other time fractions.
Question 7: Fifty of the members undertaking the survey answered the section relating to career intentions over the next 5 years; approximately two thirds responded to the '10 year' prompt, while approximately one third answered the '15 year' section.
Respondents planning to increase their administrative time were the largest group (54% over the next 5 years), followed by those interested in clinical work (20%), No change (18%) and Academia (12%). There were 8 Associate Fellows (16%) considering undertaking the requirements to become Fellows of the college over the next several years.
The number of members considering retirement increased, somewhat predictably, over the 3 stages of the survey. There were 4 Associate Fellows (8%) planning to retire within the next 5 years, 8 planning to retire in the 5 years after that (16%), and a further 9 subsequent to that (18%). If this can be considered representative, it represents a 42% rate of retirement over the questioned period.
Section 2 of the survey concerned medical specialties and qualifications held by the members, as well as the impact that CPD requirements would have on members with multiple specialties.
Out of a total of 48 responses:
- 27 Associate Fellows are members of another specialty college
- 11 Associate Fellows are members of 2 other specialty colleges
- 8 Associate Fellows are members of 3 other specialty colleges
Question 9 (Q2 of Section 2) called for comment on the impact of satisfying CPD requirements for multiple specialty colleges, and the potential of being able to undertake CPD that fulfils the requirements of more than one college.
79.5% of respondents stated that the CPD requirements for multiple specialties were onerous. Whilst there was universal acknowledgement of the importance of CPD, many of the members would consider relinquishing their membership of a college in order to cope with the increased demand in CPD requirements that this situation would bring about. Many, however, also commented that the ability to include CPD activities for multiple colleges would be welcome, and that streamlining or standardising the CPD reporting between colleges would be helpful.
"I will be recording my CPD requirements in January during a less busy time of the year. I complete sufficient activities for CPD not to worry about changing my practise. I find the recording time consuming."
"It would be difficult meeting this requirement alongside meeting the CPD requirements of the RANZCP."
"I would struggle to maintain CPD as an Associate Fellow. I am credentialed with JCCO and JCCA as a rural obstetrician and obstetrician and am currently working in emergency medicine. I am maintaining all required CME for this as well as general CME for ACRRM and RACGP. In addition I am undergoing ultrasound training for emergency medicine. After 20 years as a DMS, I am no longer involved directly in medical administration however occasionally provide some locum cover for my own hospital."
"Not a problem if there were standardised reporting."
Question 10 (Q3 of Section 2) asks Associate Fellows to name the medical specialties in which they are qualified to register with the MBA, and their intention regarding maintaining CPD requirements for each of the specialty colleges.
The vast majority of respondents state that they will maintain the CPD requirements for the specialty colleges they are members of, and that they would be interested in both counting other college CPD toward RACMA CEP, and counting RACMA CEP for other college CPD.
Section 3 of the survey focussed on simultaneous CPD between RACMA and other medical colleges, and asked respondents to provide examples of CPD activities they felt would satisfy multiple specialty CPD requirements. Almost all members (96%) felt that RACMA should formalise reciprocal CPD arrangements with other medical colleges.
Whilst the vast majority felt that CPD should be able to be counted towards more than one college's requirements, there were many comments identifying the need to ensure that these activities were still relevant to both/all specialties. One suggestion was that a common recording template be used to avoid re-working.
Some members responded that they thought it would be difficult to find activities that suited more than one specialty, and that the different number of points required and awarded by each college may prove troublesome. When asked about activities that they considered would specifically address both their clinical college's requirements and RACMA's, all respondents were able to list at least one type of CPD/CEP activity.
The final question in Section 3 asked respondents to gauge how well they met a range of requirements for RACMA CEP. Three of the options received a majority 'NO' response: Entering my activities in the e-CEP (56%), Undertake CPD re cultural competencies (57.4%), and Have a current triennium RACMA CEP certificate (58.3%).
Section 4 of the survey dealt with the new Associate Fellowship Training Program. 86.3% of respondents were positively or potentially interested in receiving more information about this program.
When asked if they believed the Associate Fellowship Training Program is a sound direction for the college to take, 37 out of 47 respondents (79%) responded affirmatively. Several responses (from both Yes and No categories) suggested that this program should offer a pathway towards Full Fellowship of the college, such as credits of study or access to the Accelerated Pathway.
Question 16 (Q3 of Section 4) asked what other training programs/activities would be helpful to respondents in their current role. The responses mainly regarded access to administration topics such as Economics and Finance, Law, Human Resources, Change Management and Infrastructure Development. Several respondents expressed an interest in Adult and Online Education, while one put forward the idea of Senior Executive Rotations to gain insight into higher-level management. One of the most prominent responses was the desire to have access to Peer Support and Review, and Mentoring from other members of the college. An overwhelming majority were interested in sourcing these CPD/CEP activities through RACMA.
Of the programs and activities planned for this training program in 2011, almost all activities were of interest to the majority of the survey participants. The majority of respondents were open to the idea of presenting at workshops and webinars.
Question 22 (Q2 of Section 5) asked about participants CEP for the last 12 months, and whether they had included it in their RACMA CEP.
Question 25 (Q2 of Section 6) gave participants the opportunity to offer suggestions on how to improve the RACMA CEP program. Many responses coincided with current initiatives, such as flexibility for CPD to count for multiple specialty colleges, online recording of CPD activities, and greater use of videoconferencing. Some respondents suggested access to web-based resources and more regional conferences.
Question 26 asked how satisfied participants were with their Associate Fellowship. 39 out of 50 (78%) responded either medium or above.
Question 27 asked participants how they would improve the AFRACMA program. The most common response was to transform the AFRACMA program into a pathway to Fellowship.
"The AFRACMA needs to be seen as a qualification that carries a little more weight than it does at the moment. It should facilitate procurement of employment in medical administration and not just be seen as a decorative post-nominal. This would allow Associate Fellows who want to transition into medical administration, to secure appropriate employment and participate in the accelerated pathway to full Fellowship. At the moment unless there is appropriate employment it is extremely difficult to participate in the accelerated pathway and appropriate employment is not forthcoming unless there is an engagement towards full Fellowship. The AFRACMA should be directed at giving a recognised competitive advantage to seeking employment and the educational activities should assist with the requirements for transition to full Fellowship."
"Develop AFRACMA program in to a lead in to FRACMA by incorporating some components of accelerated Fellowship pathway in to AFRACMA program."
Other responses included more peer mentoring and support, particularly with Fellows, access to an AFRACMA group email or online forum, and more workshops and online training opportunities.
Fellowship & Recruitment
- This cohort should be advised of any further rounds of the Accelerated Pathway to Fellowship and the Standard Pathway timelines. 14.5% of the sample expressed an interest in undertaking the Fellowship Training Program in the future.
- The eight Associate Fellows that indicated a desire to pursue the Fellowship Training Program will be sent the information regarding this program.
- Some respondents indicated that the new AFRACMA Training Program could be considered as a pathway into the Fellowship Training Program.
- The Curriculum Committee could investigate the possibility of the AFRACMA Training Program being counted as RPL towards the FTP.
- Increase the amount of activities that integrate the membership categories such as peer mentoring and support, between the Fellows and Associate Fellows.
- With a 42% rate of retirement, a recruitment strategy must be developed and implemented to counteract the attrition rate.
- Despite rating the sense of professional belonging very highly, they conversely rated the network of AFRACMA and FRACMA’s quite low. This could be addressed by providing more networking opportunities, such as mentoring, social events, study groups, peer support, review, an AFRACMA committee etc.
- The respondents indicated their areas of expertise, which will inform a database that can be utilised as a resource for writing policy, responding to government submissions, educational program developers, presenters, consultants, mentoring, Quarterly contributors or members of various committees etc.
- Provide access to a group email or online forum specifically for the Associate Fellows use.
Continuing Education / CPD
- Results of the question addressing the overall ease of meeting the RACMA CEP requirements and the overall satisfaction with the program provide a baseline from which further survey results can be compared.
- Considering a large proportion of the respondents spent less than 20% of their time conducting clinical work, this cohort may benefit from clinical briefings and updates, to maintain their clinical knowledge.
- Formalised reciprocal recognition of CPD requirements between the specialty colleges would streamline and standardise the reporting and ensure compliance. As part of this reciprocal recognition process, some common recording templates, and even weightings, across the colleges would help the reporting process.
- Further clarity is required regarding what constitutes a CEP activity. The CEP activity table needs to be clearly defined, along with the weightings and types of activities that can be included. An educational program targeted at the AFRACMA group regarding the logging of CEP activities, obligations of the program etc would assist with compliance.
- Identify those AFRACMA without certificates and educate them in order to increase compliance.
- The training needs and suggestions of the AFRACMA respondents generally aligned with those of the Fellows who responded to the Annual FRACMA Survey.
- Educational program topic suggestions include: Economics and finance, law, human resources, change management, infrastructure development, management for clinicians, medical leadership, clinical updates, managing performance, committee management, managing up and cultural competence. Also suggested was the possibility of a learning to teach program (such as Teaching on the Run).
- Over 60% of the AFRACMA were interested in participating in the Annual Scientific Meeting: accommodation of their areas of need or interest should be considered, as well as using AFRACMA representatives as presenters.
- Address the paucity of educational programs and resources available to smaller jurisdictions such as Tasmania, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia. • Increase the number of regional conferences and workshops.
Mr Cameron Setchell
Education Project Officer