Overview of the training program
Paediatrics training is a six-year program including three years of basic training which most people complete in this time unless you want to complete it part-time or take a break. In addition to this there is a minimum of three years of advanced training. Many people also do additional dual training subspecialties along with this, so this can extend the length of training.
The basic training has a very set structure and several criteria that you need to include as part of this training including neonatal training, subspecialty paediatric training, general paediatrics and non-core as well as emergency paediatric training. Exams are a hurdle to get over at end of your second or third year of training. Once you’ve passed these you can move onto advanced training.
In advanced training you get to select a little bit more what your training looks like. There are core features of advanced training for general paediatrics that you need to complete including rural training and perinatal training but you can also have some oversight in terms of what you choose to do in terms of developmental or subspecialty training in addition to this.
Getting onto the training program
You generally start the paediatrics training program in PGY3 but you can apply in PGY2. From 2022 there are going to be interns at Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH), so you can do a paediatrics rotation as part of your intern training to get an idea of what’s involved in working as a paediatrician.
To get onto the training program you need to be well rounded and show you’ve done more than just the basic minimum requirements during medical school and your intern training. They’re looking for ambitious and keen trainees that want to look after children. To improve your chances of getting into the paediatric training program it’s beneficial to have done some research, some medical student teaching and have interests in supervision or mentorship as well as done some volunteering, such as Teddy Bear hospital or Radio Lollipop (your volunteer work and other extra-curricular activities don’t have to be paediatric specific).
You need to have a contract at PCH for 12 months prior to getting onto the training program so you’ll have your contract in place by the time you start your entry requirements for the paediatrics training program.
The first step in the application process is to write a cover letter and provide a well-rounded CV which shows an interest in paediatrics, research and education.
In the next round, you’ll have to do a series of multiple mini interviews - five-minute interviews (mini OSCE stations) where you’ll address a range of paediatric related issues. After this you’ll be ranked and potentially offered a position in paediatric training.
Your employment at PCH for the year as an RMO or registrar will continue regardless of whether you get offered a position in the training program. It will only affect the terms that you have going forward from there in relation to your training.
There’s only one set of exams (written and clinical) in the middle of your training and once you’ve passed these there’s no further exams, however, overall trainees find the exams difficult. The whole exam preparation can take approximately 18 months and the exams are only held once a year which does adds to the pressure.
There are several options to undertake dual training alongside paediatrics. Paediatric surgery, anaesthetics and intensive care are all different training programs so they all have their own application processes. A lot of people will work as RMOs at PCH and then go on to do service surgical registrar positions requesting terms in paediatrics at PCH but the program entry is through RACS. Intensive care have entry through CICM which you can join as a basic trainee in intensive care through an adult pathway and then do advanced training in paediatric ICU or you can do general paediatrics including advanced training and there are entry pathways where you can join the advanced training section of the ICU as long as you will receive your fellowship before your exams for one of the acute care colleges (ED, anaesthetics or physicians).
Lastly, the College is generally flexible and helpful in terms of interruptions to training and leave and being able to complete things in different orders.