Doctors who work in rural and remote communities have all descended on Cairns for the 14th World Rural Health Conference. With such an exciting array of speakers on offer, it’s tough to choose which session to miss, as you can unfortunately only be at one place at a time. Various RVTS Medical Educators will be presenting sessions, which I’d highly recommend!

If you’d prefer to listen to a podcast about the sessions, click here. Alternatively, read on.

On Sunday afternoon at 3:45 in Meeting Room 4 Dr Karin Jodlowski-Tan will be discussing ‘RVTS – Adapting the Rural and Remote Training model to the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service setting’. RVTS now has several years experience in training doctors in Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS). Karin will discuss the AMS experience and why the RVTS AMS stream was started, highlighting issues encountered in the early days and reviewing the challenges of adapting the rural and remote training model to the aboriginal community controlled health service setting.
In this interactive group session, participants will discuss cultural context in the training arena, and deliberate on solutions and suggestions to improve cultural awareness and education in the rural setting. This would include how to engage cultural mentors, development of cultural mentor programmes, and ideas about what can be done better, as full engagement of cultural mentors requires a lot of dedication, focus and understanding. The model will be able to be adapted to various settings where different cultures meet.

Another great session will be on Monday morning at 10:30am in Conference room 2, where Taras Mikulin will be presenting on the “Three-way teleconferences: A simple method for supporting supervision in remote general practice”.
RVTS works on a model of remote supervision done via teleconferences: the supervisor and registrar discuss various topics and cases telephonically. Over the last couple of years, RVTS implemented a new supervisor support and development program where these discussions including a third supervisor. Thus a junior supervisor can join a senior supervisor and their registrar during a teleconference, to observe the session. This format is mainly used for orientation of new supervisors to RVTS and the teleconferencing technique. In addition, a senior supervisor can join a junior supervisor and their registrar for a teleconference, and then give constructive feedback about the structure and content of the teleconference to the supervisor. During the session, Taras will highlight the importance of supervisor support and development, using constructive feedback to further develop supervisory skills. RVTS has found this three-way teleconferences model be successful at providing positive educational benefit to the supervisor.
It’s an efficient way of providing “on-the-job” support.
There is a paucity of data on this technique in the literature, but the three-way training session has proven to be beneficial to junior supervisors, and can be adapted further for differing needs.

On Tuesday morning 10:30 in meeting room 2, Drs Lorri Hopkins, Natalie Burch and Sonia Singh will be presenting and “Innovative workshop sessions for rural registrars – a set of three”. RVTS workshops are different to the usual training workshops: there are no lectures, skill sessions are clinically based and role plays are interactive. This is thanks to the innovative thinkers who are continuously changing and improving the way workshop content is delivered to ensure that the knowledge gained during the intensive week of training can indeed be recalled when required.
In this session, Lorri, Nat and Sonia will be discussing the RVTS workshop model which has developed over several years into it’s current form.
Lorri will discuss procedural training which is case based learning, making skills clinically relevant. Nat discusses teaching GP skills where consultation skills are practices in small groups. This technique started as micro-skill development and has developed into a unique model of role play involving stopping at various points and participants trying different techniques. In this model, feedback is something to consider, as honest feedback is only given if there’s a foundation of trust. Registrars often see feedback as “pass / fail”, so constructive feedback needs to be given with care.
Sonia will discuss the cultural sessions that are delivered at the workshops. On this blog, Sonia has previously discussed how she ran a cultural session at the workshop and at WONCA she will be elaborating on this further.

In Meeting Room 7 on Tuesday at 12:10, RVTS CEO and Director of Training, Dr Pat Giddings, will be discussing “Sustaining and Retaining a Rural and Remote Workforce – Experience from the Remote Vocational Training Scheme”. You can review some background information on RVTS by listening to an interview with Pat on the blog.

For those of you who are in Cairns for WONCA, we hope that you can attend some of these great sessions highlighted.