by VR Sreeraman on  August 2, 2009 at 3:10 PM General Health News
 Australian Doctors Struggle to Find Teaching Time
Due to workforce shortages, doctors are struggling to maintain their involvement in teaching and in research activities, according to an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Further, the demands for doctors to teach medical students and doctors-in-training are increasing, with even more medical students now enrolled.

Dr Catherine Joyce, of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, said that many clinicians want to help teach medical students and doctors-in-training or engage in research, but do not have the time.

"Large sections of the Australian medical profession, including general practice are experiencing workforce shortages. Pressured clinicians are likely to prioritise the provision of services to patients over the less urgent demands of teaching and research," Dr Joyce said.

"The demands of service delivery and changed funding models are also straining the capacity of doctors in public hospitals to undertake teaching duties or research."

"Medical training now takes place in a wide range of clinical settings, but the supports for doctors to provide education varies considerably between these settings."

Dr Joyce and her co-authors propose a range of strategies to support and enhance medical education and research including:

• Recruiting senior clinicians who have retired from the public hospital system but still have the capacity to contribute to the academic workforce

• Recognising the time clinicians spend teaching or conducting research by providing quarantined time and provider activity payments

• Increasing the use of high-technology simulations for procedural skills training

• Ensuring properly-designed, specifically designated spaces for teaching are located within hospitals and other major teaching sites

• Increasing the availability of formal university appointments for clinicians; and,

• Boosting support for general practice teaching.

The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.

Source: MJA

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