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Taranaki Doctor wins Australasian award for supervision

Media Release

November 22, 2017

Taranaki Doctor wins Australasian award for teaching and supervision of Junior doctors.

Dr Jonathan Albrett, Taranaki DHB Anaesthetist and Intensive Care Specialist has received the prestigious Australasian Clinical Educator of the Year (2017) award in Brisbane last week, from the Australasian Confederation of Post-graduate Medical Education Councils (CPMEC), who oversee training standards and competence of doctors across Australia and New Zealand.

Over the past five years, Dr Albrett has developed and run a programme to support doctors in their first year of practice at Taranaki DHB and Dr Albrett said he has his first and second year doctors to thank for the nomination. “I never expected to achieve international recognition for my teaching programme and I am very grateful for this. I have worked hard to support and educate doctors in their first year of practice, and for them to nominate me for such a prestigious award is very humbling,” said Dr Albrett.

The Clinical Educator of the Year Award recognises an overall contribution to training, supervision, mentoring and support for young doctors as they complete their first two years of practice. Dr Albrett attended the CPMEC conference as the New Zealand divisional winner, after being chosen by the Medical Council of New Zealand.

Dr Albrett’s innovative first year doctor’s Acute Skills Teaching Programme provides support and training for first year doctors while they transition from medical school, to working in a hospital and providing acute care for sick patients on the wards.

Gillian Campbell, Taranaki DHB COO said, “On behalf of Taranaki DHB we are absolutely thrilled for Dr Albrett and this award recognises his commitment and support of junior doctors, not just in New Zealand but across Australasia.”

This is not the first time this programme has been recognised. Last year Dr Albrett received an award for innovation from the National Health Round Table for his First Year Doctors Acute Skills Teaching Programme.

Earlier this year the, Medical Council of New Zealand took the unusual step of specifically commending Dr Albrett’s teaching programme after Taranaki’s credentialling visit.

“The programme has been running for more than five years. I couldn't have started the programme on my own and it’s a team effort that has made it a success, with support from both my colleagues and the Hospital Management Team,” said Dr Albrett.

Mrs Campbell explained, “Taranaki DHB has made the training a priority to highlight the importance of looking after its first year doctors and it has been very well received by this group. The DHB came second in a survey that ranks graduating doctors’ most preferred hospitals to work in this year.”

Dr Albrett’s idea to develop the teaching programme came from analysis of international and local data that showed the majority of first year doctors often feel under-prepared when caring for acute and deteriorating patients independently.

“First year doctors have trained hard for six years and are very capable, they also have plenty of support via consultants who they can call at any time for advice. However, first year doctors naturally lack the on-ward experience, so when they are caring for acute or deteriorating patients this can be challenging for them,” explained Dr Albrett.

“Once I had the idea, I spoke to my Manager and they supported it. I got the programme up and running and it works and has definitely added to the quality care and improvement culture our DHB adheres to,” Dr Albrett added.

Altogether, Dr Albrett has trained for 15 years at Auckland Medical School and at Taranaki Base and Waikato Hospitals to become an Anaesthetist and an Intensive Care Specialist. “Regardless of my years of training, no amount quite prepares you for the experience you gain working on the wards,” he commented.

With this in mind, Dr Albrett’s idea was to provide a supportive teaching forum where doctors build on from what they already know, by discussing scenarios and be offered suggestions to help them manage situations before they experience them under pressure on the ward. After three months the teaching programme involves simulation of medical emergencies including on the ward with other members of staff.

“It teaches doctors supplementary skills to help them quickly identify, escalate and treat patients who deteriorate on the ward, which ultimately will help to improve patient outcomes,” said Dr Albrett.

Taranaki DHB will start its fifth round of the Acute Skills Teaching Programme with the new in-take of first year doctors who arrive at the end of November 2017.

Dr Albrett said, “In the last few years Taranaki Base Hospital has been seen as a popular destination for first year doctors and has attracted a high calibre of applicants. Part of my reasoning for initiating this programme was to attract these doctors and provide them this training and support.”

Dr Jonathan Albrett works at Taranaki Base Hospital. Jonathan completed his post graduate diploma in Clinical Education with Distinction at the University of Auckland last year.


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