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Extended skills recognition gains momentum


Morgan Liotta


15/05/2024 3:58:43 PM

Integrative medicine is the latest area of specific interest awarded to a Fellow of the RACGP under its Recognition of Extended Skills program.

Dr Cris Beer.
Dr Cris Beer developed a specific interest in integrative medicine following her own health challenges and realising she needed to treat the cause of her symptoms to improve her health.

The RACGP’s Recognition of Extended Skills (RES) acknowledges Fellows of the college who have clinical expertise and depth of applied knowledge and practice in specific areas of medicine.
 
Officially launched at WONCA in 2023 by RACGP Specific Interests with the aim to connect patients and doctors, the RES program has already seen 32 GPs obtain formal recognition in their speciality field, including 10 in dermatology.
 
Now, another has been honoured with a RES in Integrative Medicine, marking the sixth recipient in this field, the first non-assessor applicant.
 
That GP is Dr Cris Beer, who is also a nutritional medicine specialist, fitness consultant, corporate speaker and author.
 
She told newsGP it is ‘definitely gratifying’ to be acknowledged for an area of medicine that she ‘feels so passionate about’.
 
‘My experience undertaking the Recognition of Extended Skills was both a straightforward process and an edifying one,’ Dr Beer said.
 
First becoming a GP in 2012, Dr Beer has always loved working alongside patients in the community setting and helping them with health concerns ‘in every stage of life’, which is what also sparked her interest in holistic medicine.
 
‘The variety is what I love most about being a GP,’ she said.
 
‘I developed a specific interest in integrative medicine following my own health challenges and realising that if I wanted to be well, I needed to treat the cause of my symptoms.
 
‘This involved employing specific lifestyle changes and incorporating some integrative medicine strategies, which I learnt from an integrative doctor mentor.’
 
Dr Beer further pursued this interest with a Fellowship in Lifestyle Medicine through the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, and a Fellowship in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine through the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine.
 
The RACGP’s RES Integrative Medicine module recognises Fellows of the college who have clinical expertise and depth of applied knowledge and practice in integrative medicine.
 
It focuses on integrating complementary medicine into conventional healthcare using an evidence-based approach, for GPs who practice within both models of care with diverse approaches and who may have other specialisations, such as acupuncture.
 
Now that Dr Beer has added the RES to her long list of qualifications, she is hoping it will help her both as a GP and holistic health consultant.
 
‘Gaining recognition and support for practising a specific interest in general practice increases your confidence and resolve to continue to make a difference in your patients’ lives,’ she said. 
 
The RES program is open to all Fellows of the RACGP with at least five years of experience in their specific interest area, including any additional training, skills, and expertise.
 
More information and the applicant handbook are available on the RACGP website.

This article was corrected on 16 May to reflect the accurate number of Fellows who have gained RES.
 
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