One of the great strengths of the RPA Network is its integrated clinical teaching program. There are many facets to our educational program to support trainees in their preparation for the clinical examination. We pride ourselves on a tradition of enthusiastic teaching and support from all our senior clinicians and advanced trainees.
Examination Skills and Case Preparation
Protected teaching sessions are held on Thursday afternoons from 3.30-5.30pm. In the lead up to clinical examinations there is a focus on developing examination skills and long case preparation.
All trainees are involved in the program whilst on rotation at RPA, Bankstown and Balmain hospitals.
Examination skills are reviewed and examined from early in the program (beginning of year 1), including on secondment at rural sites.
Long and short cases are held at RPA, Balmain and Bankstown hospitals on a rotating basis every Saturday morning from 8am-11am for all candidates sitting the clinical exam. There are 12 consultants from a variety of specialties involved every Saturday and the morning is run identically to the FRACP exam conditions. On a few weekends we also partner up with other Sydney BPT Networks to swap candidates to gain case experience in other centres.
In addition, there are a number of specialty skills days, provided by the Cardiology, Respiratory, Neurology, Rheumatology and Endocrine departments to provide specific short case examination skills in these areas.
Short and Long Case Roster
All trainees sitting the FRACP Clinical Examination are scheduled on a roster to practice short and long cases during the week. Consultants and advanced trainees are rostered to supervise trainees. Each trainee averages 1-2 long and short scheduled cases per week, in addition to those done with a mentor or other examiners as arranged independently.
Long Case Lunch
There are weekly tutorial sessions at lunchtime on Tuesdays, which focus on long case presentation technique and common long case topics and issues. Tutorials are led by consultants, advanced trainees and allied health professionals with expertise relevant to long case issues for discussion.
The BPT Long Case Weekend
Successful written examination candidates attend a subsidised weekend course with a focus on techniques to approach the FRACP clinical exam. This course is held off site in late March and is a great opportunity to foster teamwork and collegiality among our candidates, as well as teaching some basic skills in Long Case structure and presentation.
The mentoring program is a unique aspect of the RPA BPT training program. We believe that there is great value in mentoring, particularly in the year of the clinical examination. Each BPT is allocated a consultant and an advanced trainee mentor. They are carefully matched by the training team to hopefully complement the trainee's learning style and their training needs.
The role of a mentor often includes (but is not limited to): support of clinical training, trainee well-being and career advice.
Trial Clinical Examination
In addition to regular practice cases every Saturday, our network hosts several comprehensive clinical trial exams which simulate the FRACP exam. Every component of the FRACP exam is trialed involving patients, consultant and advanced trainee examiners, timing and bulldogs. Each candidate sits a long case and two short cases. Every candidate will sit a trial at RPA in June, with several given the additional opportunity to sit formal trial exams at Bankstown and Dubbo Hospitals (which are also FRACP Examination Centres).