Taranaki Doctor wins Australasian award for teaching and supervision of junior doctors

Dr Jonathan Albrett, Taranaki District Health Board Anaesthetist
and Intensive Care Specialist, has received the prestigious
Australasian Clinical Educator of the Year (2017) award in Brisbane
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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,” says 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.”
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 says.
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.
“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,” says Dr Albrett.
Dr Albrett works at Taranaki Base Hospital. He completed his post
graduate diploma in Clinical Education with Distinction at the
University of Auckland last year