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Great teamwork ensures smooth running of exam day

Dedicated volunteers helped ensure a successful Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ (RACP) clinical examination day at Royal North Shore Hospital.

The exam is a critical part of candidates’ training and assesses their clinical and interpersonal skills and acumen. It required the recruitment of about 40 appropriate patients to participate as volunteers. 

Sixteen candidates sat the exam, which reverted back to the pre-COVID traditional format, held under ‘face-to-face’ conditions. This was after two years of COVID-enforced restrictions involving partly remote assessment. 

RNSH Medical Oncologist and Senior Medical Registrar Dr Hannah Ainsworth, who oversaw the exam on Saturday, July 30, said it had been a great effort from a 30-strong team of volunteers. 

“Over the last four weeks I probably spoke to about 60 patients who were identified as suitable (participants) but several people in that time caught COVID or for other reasons couldn’t eventually participate,” she said. 

“It was certainly very challenging finding suitable patients in the current environment.

“The day itself is very busy and there were a lot of new faces having to learn the rules.

“The candidates’ feedback has been excellent - they felt everything was fair and ran smoothly. I have also received emails from patients expressing their happiness with the day.”

The exams, which followed a written assessment earlier this year, took place at public hospitals across the country.

“Having trained at Royal North Shore Hospital myself, I saw the amount of work that went into my own exam,” Hannah said. 

Helping provide a successful exam is my way of ‘paying it forward
Dr Hannah Ainsworth

“We have to give the candidates every opportunity to become well-rounded physicians who will contribute to healthcare. It’s incredibly rewarding being part of an event helping achieve that.

“It’s a labour of love from everyone involved, but a great effort.”

Northern Sydney Local Health District Executive Medical Director A/Prof Chris Dennis, who also assisted coordination of the examinations, said the event demonstrated the commitment to effective teamwork at RNSH. 

“I thought there was a fantastic feeling of goodwill among everyone who was involved – including the patients - which is so good to see after all the hardship everyone has experienced over the last couple of years,” he said. 

“It was truly an understated expression of our collegiality and strength as a hospital.”

Hannah thanked Dr Kate Ahmad and Dr Adrian Lee for their assistance, the Basic Physicians Trainee Unit, trainee physicians, volunteers, patients and everyone who helped with the day.

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