Doctors are human – who would have thought!

Doctors are human – who would have thought!

Dr Rebecca Wood
Co-Chair, AMA (WA) Doctors in Training Committee

Monday 3 December 2018


The Medical Council of Canada got into hot water recently over tweets about examination invigilation and the necessity to declare feminine hygiene products. According to the MCC website, access to bathroom breaks required written permission in advance. And then came the tweet: “You may bring feminine hygiene products to the exam. Please inform exam staff upon registration; instructions will be provided onsite.”


Canadian medical tweeps responded to the MCC pointing out that DiTs had a good understanding of anatomy and didn’t need their instructions.


There’s a good reason #tampongate is trending on medtwitter.


As clinicians, we are guided by best practice principles. We seek the evidence, analyse the methods, discuss results and decide on a gold standard for our patients’ care.


As medical experts, we expect that proper assessment and consideration have influenced the opinions offered to us in other areas of our lives – be that advice from the plumber, the mechanic or even the standards set by the colleges.


As doctors training in the highly competitive environment of 21st century medicine, we are particularly sensitive about anything that could affect our employability or career development.


This year has been particularly tumultuous for the colleges. Trainees were concerned about the move to an online platform for the Basic Physician Trainee (BPT) examination and the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) is still rebuilding rapport and trust with trainees who were affected by a number of issues around the BPT exam.


The RACP wasn’t the only college to encounter such difficulties. The RACGP examination in July this year also experienced technical platform problems and issues with communications around eligibility for a re-sit.


The communication from the RACP about the BPT examination difficulties was poorly coordinated. Posting to Facebook openly and to closed groups to announce the official cancellation of the examination was a blunder. Official communications require a level of authority – one which isn’t achieved by posting on Facebook. The term “facebook official” is applicable to relationship statuses, house purchases and pregnancy announcements – not exam cancellations.


Being a part of Gen-Y, I want it all. I want my examination to be electronic, but still have the ability to doodle on paper for calculations. I want a back-up paper exam in case the electronic platform falls over. I want to be kept up to date about venue and scheduling changes and platform failures – and I want these communications to be in writing to my nominated email address.


I want a college representative to be physically present at the exam venue and I want access to refreshments, bathrooms and breastfeeding facilities.


Most importantly, I want to be treated as a human, a trainee, and a professional. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

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Why I Joined the AMA (WA)...
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