The Rural Generalist Foundation Year (year one) provides an introduction to the program and the opportunity for trainees to be supported in the program and their rural locations.
Primary entry to the NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program for most junior doctors is in their PGY2 year to undertake the Rural Generalist Foundation Year. This means that the majority of junior doctors apply for the NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program in their PGY1 year. Trainees already undertaking general practice training may also join the Rural Generalist Foundation Year.
Activities during the Rural Generalist Foundation Year include:
- Two-day orientation workshop convened by the Program, held in March each year
- Access to Program and mentor support with career and training advice
- Additional weekend workshops convened by the Program
- Structured education sessions (webinars, teleconferences)
- Mid-point discussions and vocational review with program Medical Educators
PROGRESSION TO AST YEAR
Following successful completion of the Rural Generalist Foundation Year, junior doctors may progress to advanced skills training year if deemed ready or proceed to community general practice training and defer advanced skills training for a year.
During the Rural Generalist Foundation Year, senior clinicians involved in the Program undertake an assessment of a trainee’s readiness to progress to the AST year. This assessment is largely formative and includes a determination on whether a trainee has the requisite knowledge, skills and professional maturity to successfully complete the AST year.
Further information about the assessment of readiness to progress to the AST year is available in the Trainees Guide to the Rural Generalist Foundation Year. (Link to Guide)
The Advanced Skills Training undertaken during the NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program leads to a formal qualification, overseen by the relevant college and ultimately allows a medical practitioner to be credentialed by a Local Health District (LHD) to provide those particular advanced skills within a public health facility.
AST is currently available in:
A fundamental principle of the NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program is that advanced skills training is generally undertaken in regional or remote areas, although all terms are required to be accredited by the relevant College.
Occasionally, the relevant College may deem that a component of AST training is required to be undertaken in a metropolitan facility. Impacted trainees should consult with the Statewide Director and relevant College for further information.
Rural LHDs within NSW actively support and participate in the NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program. Each year, depending on local medical workforce and clinical service needs, rural LHDs identify potential AST positions and make recommendations to HETI. A list of AST positions for the current clinical year can be viewed here (link to document). Given clinical service needs, the location of AST positions may change from year to year.
Following the AST year a trainee undertakes a period of skills consolidation and gains further clinical experience in their advanced skill specialty. The timing of the transition and consolidation years is dependent upon when a trainee completes the AST year in relation to the community general practice training.
Once a trainee has successfully completed the AST year, and been awarded the relevant qualification from the related College, they apply to a LHD for a contract as a Visiting Medical Officer to practice medicine in the area of their advanced skills training while they continue to work toward completing the requirements of general practice training. The volume of work available depends on the clinical service needs within particular LHDs, however the RGTP and general practice training providers work together with the LHDs to maximise opportunities for co-location of general practice training with opportunities to continue to work in the advanced skills area.
It is acknowledged that the period immediately post the AST year represents a critical time of skills consolidation. To this end, every endeavour is made to assist trainees in identifying and optimising opportunities to practice in their advanced skills area and work with all partners to ensure appropriate supervision for advanced skills practice is managed so that trainees are supported from ‘training under supervision’ to independent practice.
The fourth year of the program provides trainees with further support and opportunities to consolidate their procedural skills.
Upon completion of the NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program and pending successful completion of college assessments, trainees exit with a Fellowship of either the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM) and/or the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FRACGP and FARGP) and with at least one advanced skill.