The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) partnered with Flinders University to provide an emergency medicine workshop for Territory GPs and registrars to upskill their rural emergency medicine skills.
The workshop, held at Flinders University’s state-of-the-art simulation centre, based at the Flinders CDU campus, Darwin on Saturday 22 October, involved 15 participants rotating through five hands-on simulated scenarios that reflected actual rural and remote healthcare challenges. Participants were required to work in small teams to stabilise a patient and prepare them for evacuation or retrieval. Dr Peter Zimmermann noted that: “This was an excellent opportunity to practice seldom used, but critically important skills for GPs & their patients”.
“The workshop will help GPs to maintain their readiness to respond to the spectrum of patient presentations in general practice – improving the quality of care available to all Territorians.”
Flinders Rural and Remote Health staff NT Medical Program Director Associate Professor Emma Kennedy and Anatomy and Clinical Skills Laboratory Technician David Newman assisted with the scenarios, which included sepsis, paediatrics and airway stations. Flinders’ stimulation rooms and laboratory are used to train NT Medical Program and Paramedic Science students and are often used by medical colleges for the purposes of training and upskilling Territory-based medical professionals.
The course was facilitated by local NT GPs from NT Health, private practise, and GP education who utilised their experience in rural and remote as well as military settings. Dr Chris McLean, who facilitated one scenario said: “Our aim was to provide a safe framework for managing a patient’s airway in an emergency. Confidence in the basics was a major focus, taking into account the often isolated role a rural GP may find themselves in during an emergency”.
RACGP Rural Chair Dr Michael Clements said the workshop was carefully designed so that participants could get practical skills in a safe but realistic environment.
“All the scenarios are written by experienced rural GPs from actual cases, so this is a great learning opportunity or occasion to further improve already advanced skills in emergency medicine,” he said.
“In rural and remote areas of Australia, including in the Northern Territory, the demands for advanced emergency care skills in general practice are significantly higher. This is due to the relatively low number of GPs and the lack of immediately accessible specialist services. You also need to consider the logistical and geographical difficulties of evacuating the seriously ill, which can be really challenging.
“There is also a higher incidence of farming, mining, industrial and motor vehicle accidents, and greater access to firearms in isolated areas. When GPs have skills to provide emergency care to patients in need it makes a big difference for rural communities, particularly those that don’t have access to a nearby hospital.”
The story was written in partnership with RACGP.