Two weeks ago, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) held their Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in Sydney. Whilst the weather didn’t really live up to our expectations, I think most delegates would agree that a high quality conference was delivered at the Darling Harbour Sydney convention centre.
The theme was “educating for our future” and the conference featured a host of articulate medical educators including Professor Ronald Harding, chief editor of the Medical Teacher journal, Susan Promes from the USA who is affiliated with the ACGME (the national credentialing committee of the US residency programs), David Cone the Editor-in-Chief of the Academic Emergency Medicine journal, and Victoria Brazil who is an Australasian fellow and Director of Queensland Medical Education and Training (QMET). There were also talks from a team of local medical education experts like Tony Brown (Qld), Peter Cameron (Vic), Chris Curry (WA), Peter Kas (NSW) and Paul Middleton (NSW) just to name just a few. The topics covered in this conference ranged from Trauma and Disaster medicine right through to Australian indigenous health. Also of note, International Emergency Medicine was given a spot in the plenary sessions with a great talk by Chris Curry on the development of training programs in PNG and Botswana.
For a conference with such diverse content it is difficult to present an all-encompassing summary. I will provide the perspective of a college trainee with an interest in medical education rather than a compendium of all the activities that took place. For another perspective, read the daily summaries presented on the EDexam blog which are linked below:
“Trainee Tuesday” – a day for Trainee’s!
In keeping with the education theme, the organisers targeted greater trainee involvement in this year conference. “Trainee Tuesday” was an entire day of talks and activities pitched at training registrars. This day consisted of trainee focused talks including a symposium on the ACEM’s Trainee Program, a Trainee Cocktail party and of course the hugely anticipated “SimWars”.
The symposium on training led by Yuresh Naidoo (Censor-in-Chief) and Mary Lawson detailed the recommendations for change after the college’s recent training review (pdf version) and Bob Dunn updated us on advances in the trainee research requirement. Andrew Perry, the training committee chair, gave a dynamic talk on the “Trainee Perspective” highlighting the promotion of e-learning within the training process, a theme that Prof Ron Harding had described in the previous days medical education talk on “the future of education”. Andrew, who has been representing the voice of Australasian trainees for over 3 years, reminded us of the great job that college is actually doing with the massive task of coordinating the training of over 1000 trainees across Australasia. The Emergency Medicine training program is the 3rd most highly recruited specialist-training program in Australasia and arguable one of the most dynamic, especially taking to account the current re-structuring of the program based upon trainee feedback. Andrew also unleashed the Twitter hastag #ACEM2011 to the masses at the conference in his plenary session just in time for SimWars where the action hit centre stage….
Here’s the the slideshow for Andrew’s talk on the ACEM Training Program from a Trainee’s Perspective:
The much-anticipated Sim Wars went down a treat.
The event was organised on stage in the main auditorium and was presented by eloquent and charismatic hosts Neil Cunningham (VIC) and Marian Lee (NSW), and a panel of playful but experienced judges played by Susan Promes (USA), Victoria Brazil (QLD) and Stuart Diley (NSW). The scenario directors were James Kwan and Julian van Dijk, and their ideas were coordinated by the very effective support of a team of technologically and artistically-minded helpers.
There were teams of “4 registrar resuscitators” who entered an unknown scenario set in a standard emergency department with the ‘usual’ set of hazards and challenges that we face as Emergency Doctors in the real world. These challenges and/or obstacles included having to coordinate resuscitation efforts whilst dealing with hysterical friends and family, or interruptions from the police, and coping with rapidly evolving critical illness in an undifferentiated patient.
An array of scenarios were on offer ranging from the intoxicated assault resulting in a “loss of hand”, severe burns needing advanced airway interventions, to the surprise arrival of a VIP from a foreign embassy presenting with PV bleeding and a potential ruptured ectopic pregnancy…
This year there were 4 brave and enthusiastic teams who competed in the name of learning and fun from Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales., namely “The Royal Queens”, “The Liverpool lovelies”, “Thank God you’re here!”, “The Nepean Nightriders”.
The even itself was full of excitement, fun and humour, amplified by the simultaneous live twitter feed that took the event nationwide and beyond. All teams did exceptionally well in this inaugural event and were rated between 7.5 and 8 out of a possible 10 on the first round. This was followed by a play off between the two top scorers. Congratulations to Rik Wheatley, Alex Buttfield, Bellice Olima and Jimmy Bliss from the “Liverpool Lovelies” who were the winners in the final!
Life in the Fast lane – palpably present!
Finally no summary would be apt without at least mentioning the undeniable impact of the “Life in the Fast Lane” blog and others like it in “educating for our future”. The “LITFL” blog was mentioned several times (including screenshots on occasions) throughout out the conference both in the plenary sessions and parallel sessions. Whilst neither Mike Cadogan nor Chris Nickson were able to make it to the sessions they were “virtually” present with the dynamic twitter feed that was going on throughout the conference. It is also worthy of mention that Mike Cadogan received ACEM’s “Teaching Excellence Award”.
So well done to Mike for this great achievement!
Well that’s it for now with my quick peek at the conference from a trainee’s perspective. I hope to follow with a few posts on the future of medical education and what makes a good clinical teacher as the keynotes saw it, and a report on the events of the International Emergency Medicine Symposia on Day 1 at the conference… so much content in so little time! Thank goodness for the power of reflection and ability to write a delayed blog post!