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Rise in success for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students


Morgan Liotta


4/08/2023 12:37:26 PM

The latest RACGP CCE exam saw a 100% pass rate among the cohort, which has been hailed as a ‘phenomenal achievement’.

Female Aboriginal student at laptop on campus
The exam successes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs in training is ‘testament to the commitment of trainees and wraparound supports’, the faculty’s Censor says.

The recent release of results from the RACGP 2023.1 Clinical Competency Exam (CCE) show Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs in training are excelling, with 100% of self-identified candidates passing the latest CCE – the final exam on the pathway to Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP).
 
An RACGP analysis of the exam results, published last month, reveals the majority of this cohort received higher band passes of P3 and P4. Under the exam’s banding, P1 is the first band above the pass mark, and P4 the highest band.
 
Dr Olivia O’Donoghue, RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Censor, congratulated these doctors for a ‘phenomenal achievement’.
 
‘As Censor of the faculty this warms my heart and soul to see more of my peers achieving success in these high stakes assessment and moving onto RACGP Fellowship,’ she told newsGP.
 
‘It is an honour to be able to support as many people as possible along the way in whatever capacity they need to have the optimal exam experience and enable their success.’
 
A separate RACGP analysis of all three Fellowship exams – the CCE, Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) and Key Feature Problem (KFP) – shows that since 2018, success in these assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs in training have markedly improved with a noticeable increase in pass rates.
 
Pass rates across all exam segments have increased from 46% in 2017 to 75% in 2022, compared to the non-Indigenous Australian cohort, which has shown a more modest improvement from 71% in 2017 to 80% in 2022.
 
Although total numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates are still ‘relatively small’, Dr O’Donoghue said these numbers have been steadily increasing with each exam cycle, with a ‘positive pattern’ of more first attempt passes, fewer multiple attempts, passing all three assessments in one cycle and higher pass bands being achieved across all assessment types.
 
‘This is an exciting achievement and testament to the dedication and commitment of trainees and the wraparound supports being provided,’ she said.
 
When appointed in 2020 as the College’s first Aboriginal Censor, Dr O’Donoghue pledged to continue support for all GPs in training on their journey to Fellowship and boost the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students choosing general practice.
 
Since 2017 she said the RACGP has made ‘various enhancements’ to its wraparound supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs in training and collaborated closely with the Indigenous GP Registrar Network to improve the assessment experience.
 
‘The RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health faculty and assessment team have improved the Yagila Wadamba program – “Learn to heal” in Wurundjeri – a culturally appropriate AKT and KFP intensive, and there are policies and procedures supported by the faculty Censor to provide additional advocacy and support through training and assessments,’ she said.
 
‘Moving towards training and workforce equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs is a priority for the RACGP and a key performance indicator for our training program.’
 
Numbers of self-identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees have been steadily increasing, and the RACGP currently has 60 GPs in training (representing 1.6% of trainees) and 124 Fellows (0.4% of all Fellows).
 
Dr O’Donoghue said the aim is for greater than 3% representation across training and for Fellows.
 
‘I am excited by this pattern in the data as it will help reshape the narrative that the Fellowship exams are insurmountable the first time around,’ she said.
 
‘Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees can, and do, succeed in their first attempts and often with brilliant results.
 
‘I want to acknowledge the resilience shown by our doctors who may not be successful for various reasons in picking themselves back up, having another attempt and striving until they achieve success.
 
‘This is a testament to the strength, culture and endurance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.’
 
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs in training Fellowship exams FRACGP


newsGP weekly poll Which of the below incentive amounts (paid annually) would be sufficient to encourage you to provide eight consultations and two care plans to a residential aged care patient per year?
 
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newsGP weekly poll Which of the below incentive amounts (paid annually) would be sufficient to encourage you to provide eight consultations and two care plans to a residential aged care patient per year?

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