It’s hard to believe that it is March already. A few weeks back we welcomed our first-year student cohort, including our international contingent. With the constant and evolving challenges presented by covid-19, it has been a tricky time for our students and staff navigating the restrictions and requirements of N95 masks, eye wear, along with the usual compliance requirements for attending sessions in clinical environments, in hospitals and practices in metropolitan areas as well as rural and remote across SA and NT. Our Work Integrated Learning team has been fantastic in working through most of these challenges. Our teaching hospitals and practices have been terrific in assisting and accommodating our students with PPE provisions. I would like to thank all our contributing clinical staff across the Flinders axis for their efforts in keeping our students on placements throughout January and February.
I have taken on the role of Acting Director of the MD Program from mid-February while Prof Rosalie Grivell is on long service leave. I welcome the deputy directors, Dr Julie Halbert and A/Prof George Barreto. Many of you will know Julie as the MD Lead in Evaluation and Monitoring, and George as Advanced Studies Coordinator. Both are very experienced academics and passionate about medical education.
Our job over the next six months is to build on the values and work that were established under Rosalie’s directorship in early 2020. As many parts of the course continue to be improved as part of our review cycle, our focus in 2022 will be on improving the MD Year 2 & 3 transition and the Year 4 & internship transition. Though we have made improvements in both transition points last year, these remain challenging areas. Many of these issues need to be addressed through growing and enhancing our existing engagement with our clinical staff, not only at Bedford Park but equally across rural SA and the NT.
While our attention will be on strengthening relevant content in Years 2 and 4, it’s important that we also recognise that some of these improvements can be achieved through directed and supervised clinical exposure to clinical environments in Year 1, such as observational sessions in hospital outpatients or in general practice (something we are already doing successfully in Year 2), registrar led hospital ward or aged care facility visits.
Thank you for continuing to support and shape our medical program. As a final note, if you are a clinician and don’t have Academic Status yet, please contact our Clinician Support Team to apply and seek support for your teaching activities.
With best wishes,
Dr Michal Wozniak
Acting Director, Flinders Medical Program (MD)