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New neuropsychology registrar program

The Northern Sydney Local Health District has established the first Neuropsychology Registrar program in NSW.

The program, which takes place at Royal North Shore Hospital over two years, has seen three registrars get the opportunity to further hone their skills in a firsthand hospital experience.

The registrars continue specialised training in neuropsychology under supervision across a range of different services and multidisciplinary teams, as well as access to cross-disciplinary education and research opportunities.

Registrar Sally Byrne, who is undertaking the program at RNSH, said the experience was invaluable for her development.

“Since undertaking the program I’ve been offered the chance to enhance new graduates’ skills in delivering neuropsychological services for multidisciplinary teams in a supportive environment,” she said.

The program has provided my colleagues and I with a fantastic opportunity to gain experience across a wide variety of settings in the hospital such as neurology, general medicine, geriatric care, mental health, vascular units, and intensive care.
Registrar Sally Byrne

RNSH Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist Vince Oxenham said the program was set up to fill an important gap in new neuropsychology graduates being able to access these types of roles as their first job.

“A benefit of a program like this is providing a structure for registrars to develop their skills and knowledge required to be a competent neuropsychologist through supervision from experienced neuropsychologists, having access to a variety of clinical settings, participating in research and opportunities to attend and contribute to workshops, seminars and conferences,” he said.

He added that the health system also benefits from the increased neuropsychology resources.

“As part of the program, registrars can identify where neuropsychology services could be of benefit.”

“It allows us to educate multidisciplinary teams on the functional impacts of neuropsychological deficits or neurological conditions, which leads to improved patient care.”

Upon successful completion of the registrar program, registrars are eligible to apply for endorsement as a clinical neuropsychologist by the PBA. This endorsement allows them to practice neuropsychology independently.

The current registrars are Karina Chan (absent from photo), Nicola McKern and Sally Byrne. Applications for the next intake of the program will begin in January 2025.

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