Cultivating a Safe Working Environment

The Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (MACH) Workplace Learning Symposium 2019 was held on February 28 with the theme of “Cultivating a safe working environment”.

The event was attended by more than 100 participants from a wide range of MACH partners and aimed to start a discussion about how we can share, promote and identify initiatives for workplace learning among our institutions.

Many of the presenters were from the Melbourne Medical School and they brought insights from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The evening highlighted the high-quality work undertaken in workplace learning.

Guest speaker Professor Stephen Billett, Griffith University, highlighted the Pedagogically-rich activities (PRAs) in every day work in healthcare settings, such as handovers, ward rounds and morbidity and mortality meetings.

Cultivating a safe work environment
Reflections and discussions @ MACH Workplace Learning Symposium

These common work activities can be optimised for learning by thinking about how we prepare the learner, structure experiences, mediate participation and facilitate interaction.

Examples of this how this might be achieved in practice were presented during the symposium.

Dr Carmel Crock, the Director of Emergency at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, described a holistic approach to improving morning handover.

The approach enables paid participation of key stakeholders (both senior and junior), who ensure diagnostic review of cases and consultant opinion on decision-making after night shift in an inclusive environment where anyone can speak up.

Dr Amy Gray, Director of Medical Education at the Royal Children’s Hospital, presented STIC - a framework for ward rounds to enhance education (

Professor Elizabeth Molloy spoke on the urgency of improving interprofessional education for not just learning, but better patient outcomes, and the challenges in doing this.

Getting interprofessional right involves not only providing opportunity but designing curricula so collaborative practice is core business, not a peripheral activity.

While Mr Julian Vandijk from St Vincent’s Hospital discussed the Ethos program and how opportunities for both positive and negative feedback can contribute to a learning culture in an organisation.

The symposium was organised by the MACH Education and Workforce Planning Committee who will be working to share these ideas and more with MACH partners.

Cultivating a safe work environment
L to R: Charlotte Denniston, Stephen Billett and Liz Molloy at the
MACH Workplace Learning Symposium.

Anyone interested in sharing their own initiative or wanting to learn more about those described can contact the co-chairs of the committee; Professor Liz Molly ( and Dr Amy Gray (

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