Developing skills to navigate for success
Upon graduation, medical students should have accumulated the necessary foundational knowledge and skills required to deliver patient care.
There is no clear roadmap, however, on how to navigate the rapidly changing healthcare system as a medical professional to optimise career choices.
Surgical training, for example, is highly competitive and there are many extracurricular components which can strengthen an applicant's chance of success which are not widely known.
To address this gap and support emerging healthcare professionals with a plan for career success, two passionate University of Melbourne based surgeons have developed a course to clarify the Pathway to Career Progression.
Course Directors, Associate Professor Justin Yeung and Mr Krinal Mori, chose a mobile-based learning platform to deliver their course to assist time-poor emerging medical professionals to acquire a competitive advantage.
"I've always been passionate about mentorship and assisting junior doctors to develop as successful medical professionals," Associate Professor Yeung, a colorectal surgeon at Western Health, said.
"A significant number of non-accredited registrars do not have a secure job after several years of training, following qualification from medical school, as there is limited exposure to developing professional career skills as part of early learning," he said.
"This course will empower junior doctors because they will be safe in the knowledge they have done as much as they can to optimise their career choices."
Pathway to Career Progression covers how to make the first steps towards a successful medical career including insights on the recruitment process.
"We have assembled a team of recent trainees and experienced practitioners to describe how trainees can maximise their learning and development strategies to fast track career progression in the field of their interest," Mr Mori, a laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon at Northern and Austin Hospitals, said.
"A lot of junior doctors know what they want to do, what their interests are, but they don't know how to reach them," he said.
"They often gather information from various sources, and in some cases, it can be conflicting advice, which can generate even more confusion."
Pathway for Career Progression evolved from a one-day session, where medical students and junior doctors heard presentations on how to prepare a CV, develop a successful research project and prepare for the interview process.
"We had such incredible feedback from the one-day session, but participants wanted more knowledge, and we knew we would be able to develop a more comprehensive resource, and explore topics in more depth, if we developed a structured online course," Mr Mori said.
"By bringing the detailed learning package together, where this resource is accessible on a mobile phone, students will be able to focus more on their interests rather than worrying about the process," he said.
The course addresses a wide range of topics including how to develop sound research methodology skills and identify high impact projects to improve publication and presentation opportunities.
"A glowing deficit in applications we see is a lack of experience in completing research at a standard which can be published and presented," Associate Professor Yeung said.
"For surgical selection, the metrics change slightly each year, however, this is one element which could set a candidate apart from the rest," he said.
Additional course highlights include how to maximise in-field experience; understand which conferences are worth targeting; and develop a strategy to meet the challenge of difficult questions associated with professional interviews and public presentations.
"This course is about how to work smarter and develop a positive aura around yourself to ensure you are best positioned to achieve targeted career goals," Mr Mori said.
Pathway to Career Progression is suitable for second year medical students through to junior doctors as it covers a wide range of topics, delivered by peers, who are similarly motivated to share their insights.
"It's the A, B, C to a medical career; trainees are often expected to run before they can walk and this course provides 12 hours of learning, which goes back to basics, and is essential for a successful career in the healthcare system," Associate Professor Yeung said.