THE GREAT DEBATE: “Resilience: Friend or Foe of the Pre-Vocational Doctor”


Background: Each year the Australian and New Zealand PreVocational Medical Education Forum (ANZPMEF)  is held by a host state Postgraduate Medical Education Council (PMC) on behalf of the Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils (CPMEC). In 2017 the conference visits Brisbane, hosted by Queensland Prevocational Medical Accreditation (QPMA) subgroup of Health Leaders Australia (HLA). The Conference organising committee has honoured the Junior Medical Officers Forum of Queensland (JMOFQ) with hosting a Plenary in the opening session of this conference. As such we have invited Resident Medical Officers who are leaders in the area of Pre-Vocational Training and Junior Doctor Wellbeing to discuss Resilience during this plenary.

Introduction: JMOFQ will provide a brief introduction prior to commencement of the debate explaining we have forced speakers into a false dichotomy on a complex and multifactorial issues. We will explain that the debate sides were chosen by the JMOFQ and do not necessarily reflect the personal views of speakers, however by asking Junior Medical Officer leaders to deeply introspect these topics the audience will be given an in depth analysis of the “Resilience” from a Junior Doctor perspective.

 Aim: Junior Doctor resilience has become the catch cry of modern times as key stakeholders struggle to deal with the complexity of the Prevocational Training of Resident Medical Officers. As more Resident Medical Officers (RMO) are graduating than ever before, the toll of a demanding and ever growing health system is becoming apparent on this vulnerable workforce.

 It is obvious to those working or advocating in the Resident Medical Officer space that doctors not enrolled in vocational training programs are at the mercy of the health service in which they work, often with little regulation or external audit.

 Working on the assumption that those operating the RMO space are genuinely interested in an efficient, effective workforce delivering safe patient outcomes, it naturally follows that doctor wellbeing falls at the forefront of achieving these goals. In the journey to promote RMO health, Resilience has become the focus of many interventions and programs currently being rolled out across the country in an effort to meet the challenges faced by RMOs for example Resilience in the Run Program, BPT-OK Program amongst other.

 The theme of the National Conference this year is “Singing from the same song sheet” looking at ways in which state groups can collaborate to maximising individual outcomes. By bringing together junior doctors from across Australia, both urban and rural, in various stages of training we hope to offer a unique, poignant insight into what Resilience means to those working on the front line and where the discussion needs to lead into the future.

Dr Benjamin Veness: Benjamin Veness is a psychiatry registrar at Alfred Health in Melbourne, a past president of the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), and a Churchill Fellow whose research investigated innovative models of prevention and early intervention in the mental health of university students. He speaks and writes regularly about mental health, with an emphasis on students and the medical profession.

Dr Bavahuna Manoharan: Dr Bav Manoharan is a member of the Resilience on the Run project group in Queensland and also led the inaugural Queensland Resident Hospital Health Check 2016. He is a Radiology Registrar in the Sunshine Coast and graduated from the University of Queensland 6 years ago. He is currently a Director for AMA Ltd and AMA Queensland (AMAQ). He joined the AMAQ Branch Council and its Doctors-in-Training Committee 8 years ago. He was on the Queensland Medical Workforce Plan Steering Committee and is a member of the IHPA Teaching Training and Research committee.

Dr Danika Theimt: Dr Danika Thiemt is an Emergency Medicine trainee based in the Northern Territory, currently working as a retrieval doctor for Careflight.  Dr Thiemt graduated from a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at Monash University and completed a Master of Public Health from the University of Sydney, with a particular focus on Health Policy and Health Economics.  

Dr Nicola Campbell: Dr Nicola Campbell is a junior doctor currently working in regional Queensland. She is pursuing a career as a rural general practitioner, and will next year complete her advanced skills training in psychiatry. Nicola has been involved in supporting students with an interest in general practice during medical school, holding the position of National Chair with the General Practice Students Network in 2015. She has a keen interest in the wellbeing of doctors and medical students, rural medicine, mental health and medical education. Nicola is also passionate about social media use in medicine (@amusicalmedic).

Dr Jessica Dean: As a doctor finishing a law degree; Jessica Dean has witnessed close friends and colleagues silently battle mental illness and suicidality in the medical profession. As president of the Australian Medical Students’ Association, she took the opportunity to launch a national campaign to target all medical students in Australia. Aiming to decrease stigma, promote preventative measures and empower students to look out for their peers, Jessica and a team of volunteers brought the campaign to all 20 universities housing a medical school around Australia, meeting with medical school deans, university vice-chancellors and politicians – with more than 5,000 students attending events. Jessica caught the attention of beyondblue, the national mental health advocacy group, and now sits on the board of directors, and advisory groups for the Doctors’ Mental Health Program and National Suicide Prevention Campaign and Strategy.

Dr Tessa Kennedy: Dr. Tessa Kennedy is a Paediatric Registrar at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick and Clinical Associate Lecturer for UNSW. She is an active member of the AMA NSW Doctors in Training Committee as has represented the group at several AMA events including a recent Sexual Harassment Roundtable. Dr. Kennedy was President of the RPA Hospital Resident Medical Officer’s Association and as an undergraduate held various leadership roles in UNSW Medsoc, UNSW Yellowshirts Orientation Week program, and vaguely considered running off to join a musical theatre company after directing the Med Revue and Medshow. She is interested in health from a broader systems perspective in addition to working with the littlest humans. Author of Deaths we don’t question further. and this address to the NSW JMO Wellbeing and Support Forum.

Key Dates

Call for Abstracts: Now Closed
Registrations: Now Open!
Author Notification: 9 August 2017
Early Bird Registration Deadline: 12 September 2017
Forum Dates: 12 – 15 November 2017

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