A voice for doctors in training

10 July 2018 | Dr Nicole Fardell, BA, MBBS, MIPH, former Avant Doctor in Training Medical Advisor and GP registrar

As a doctor in training (DiT), it can be hard to see beyond the world of specialty programs and training requirements. It can feel like you just need to get through this stage of your career to reach that end goal of fellowship.  

About twelve months ago, I found myself wondering what opportunities are available for doctors in training to be involved in tackling the systemic issues that affect the practice of medicine. This led me to respond to an advertisement to join Avant’s Doctor in Training Advisory Council (DiTAC)

The DiTAC identifies emerging and existing issues within the doctors in training community in areas including: communication, education, advocacy, support and representation. The council also positively influences the career experience of young doctors and their interaction with the medico-legal world. 

Being part of the DiTAC was an extremely valuable experience. It allowed me to step outside my own specialty silo and collaborate with my peers from a variety of specialities. It has also been an important part of my role as Avant’s first in-house Doctor in Training Medical Advisor. 

The Doctor in Training Medical Advisor role is part-time, meaning I could continue with my clinical training as a GP registrar and there is the possibility of using the DIT Medical Advisor role to count towards GP training. 

Among the responsibilities of the role there was a focus on matters affecting doctors in training and helping them navigate the complexities of the disciplinary or legal system The DIT Medical Advisor complements the important function the DiTAC serves in helping Avant understand the context in which trainee doctor members are practising. Designed to enable trainees to develop new skills they can share with their peers, the DiTAC offers Avant a deeper insight into the experiences of junior doctors, which in turn helps develop better targeted support for our members.

Another aspect of the role is working with Avant’s advocacy team, focusing on developing research, communication and leadership skills. This includes exploring issues affecting trainees’ health and wellbeing and contributing to discussions on efforts to address bullying in medicine and training programs. 

Acting as the conduit between the DiTAC, Avant’s senior medical advisors and the advocacy team, meant I could provide feedback between these parties. In turn, this strengthened the DiTAC engagement and influence within Avant.

The Doctor in Training Medical Advisor position is an ongoing opportunity for doctors in training and as my 12-month contracted ended on 5 August, I have now handed the baton to Dr Victoria Phan. The role is a chance for Victoria to learn skills that will help shape and inform the remainder of her career. By improving her medico-legal understanding and confidence, she will also deepen the satisfaction derived from her clinical work. I wish Victoria all the success in the role.

Doctor in Training Research Scholarship Program

Our Doctor in Training Research Scholarships empower tomorrow's medical researchers. By supporting Australia's promising young doctors in their life-changing research, we help them promote better patient outcomes, while advancing their careers.

The Avant Doctor in Training Research Scholarship Program has awarded 74 scholarships to interns, RMOs and registrars, worth a total of $2.09 million since its inception. The 2018 program will provide up to $450,000 in full-time and part-time research funding, together with grants for short-term projects. These are awarded to both emerging and more experienced researchers.

The 2018 Avant Doctor in Training Research Scholarship recipients will be announced in September. For more information visit our website.

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