you looking at me? working under supervision when you start work in Australia

david-clode-363903Hello Koala fans.

Greetings from Down Under, the Land of Sunscreen and Chicken Salt.

Today’s thrilling episode is about working under supervision as an IMG entering the Australian workforce.

Everyone hates getting watched by your superiors at work. Yes, my budding Koala cubs, every single one of you starting work in a Consultant/Specialist/GP job in Australia MUST work under a period of supervision.

Don’t worry though it’s not too bad.

The Medical Board of Australia cite “.. All IMGs who are granted limited registration or provisional registration must be supervised..”

Even if you are a Professor of Neurosurgery from the University of Southern California with 30 years good standing, and are a keynote speaker at international conferences you have to enter a period of supervised practise. What! Why, I hear you splutter into your soy decaf latte. It is simply a quality and safety process that ensures the community is not at risk.

The supervision process also monitors and supports you – as an IMG – throughout your period of limited or provisional registration. It is designed to set you on the path of continuous learning and professional development in Australia.

The process assesses your performance within a very structured context where performance review and feedback is extremely important. In my experience with doctors I have known it has never been an onerous arrangement on paper, although it is a subjective experience.

You will have a principal supervisor, have co-supervisors and term co-supervisors. Principal supervisors in regional hospitals/services tend to be peeps like the Director of Medical Supervisor and then they may delegate day to day responsibility of your supervision to Clinical Director or a Consultant/Staff Specialist. All depending on the size of service and resources to hand of course. There are horror stories of different medical specialties having to supervise the other in remote services but thankfully these are rare – I hope!

The supervision is based on formal and informal principles – each tailored to your circumstances. The formal stuff is extremely structured and allows reflection on clinical practise, plenty of discussion, review and feedback etc. The core competencies they will look at include at you assessing a patient safely, how you recognise a sick patient, how and when to refer a patient, safe prescribing, investigation management, screening protocols, treatment and management guidelines, the quality of your communications with relevant stakeholders and your understanding of local legislation.

Informal supervision- this is the day to day stuff: observation, communication and interaction with you receiving gentle nudges of guidance support etc.

How is the level of supervision determined? Well, my friends it can depend on a few things. These include: your qualifications, your previous experiences, the scope of the job, level of risk attached to it, the location etc.

This info is based on guidelines published by Medical Board in January 2016. As I write in November 2017 they are up to date. Please check the Medical Board of Australia’s website for any changes.

Now I’m off to read the Paradise Papers with a large doughnut.

Photo credit
David Clode


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