RACGP re-elects Censor-in-Chief

Morgan Liotta

21/06/2022 3:18:10 PM

Dr Tess van Duuren speaks to newsGP about ‘problem solving’ and the transition to college-led training.  

Dr Tess van Duuren
Dr Tess van Duuren will continue in her role as RACGP Censor-in-Chief for another two years.

For Dr Tess van Duuren, newly re-elected RACGP Censor-in-Chief on the Council of Censors, regular problem solving is one of the most rewarding parts to her role.
‘You could be forgiven for thinking that [the role of Censor-in-Chief] sounds dry, and possibly boring but I enjoy all of it,’ Dr van Duuren told newsGP.
‘I really enjoy the challenge of trying to find solutions to problems.’
Re-elected by the Council of Censors this month to continue as Censor-in-Chief for a further two years, Dr van Duuren said the position helps to provide continuity and stability at a time that the RACGP is experiencing ‘significant change’ as it transitions to college-led training.
The Council of Censors has an important oversight role in the RACGP, according to Dr van Duuren, responsible for establishing and maintaining standards relating to education, training and assessment.
It also ensures that education policies are consistently applied and implemented in an ‘equitable and consistent manner’.
‘Censor-in-Chief as a job title makes it hard to work out what the role is, and one’s mind often goes to censorship, or an official who examiners books and films to suppress any unacceptable parts,’ Dr van Duuren said.
‘Fortunately, that’s not the case and the word “censor” is derived from the Latin censere meaning “assess”, which is closer to the Censor role given our involvement in assessment and exams.
‘The Censor-in-Chief role is one of education governance, and the work involves providing oversight to several areas as well as working with education policy.
‘I work with a team of fantastic Censors … and have a weekly meeting to consider requests for exemptions to policy and other special considerations. This meeting reminds us of how difficult life is for so many of my GP colleagues, and that exams and training requirements can add a significant additional burden.’
Noting the recent challenges that have presented both within the college and the broader general practice community, Dr van Duuren uses this as an example of the reward she finds in problem solving.
‘Since taking on this role there have been many changes and challenges,’ she said.
‘The Censor team has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, finding flexible ways to support trainees while maintaining standards. The 2020.2 exam delivery failure provided many insights and lessons, and as a result we have been able to make significant changes to exam delivery.
‘I truly value the way that the teams [within the college] are always motivated to advocate for our members. While I can’t always say yes, I am reassured that we have always tried to find alternative solutions or at least offered advice about possible options.’
One silver lining of the pandemic, Dr van Duuren said, is the impetus it provided to update the RACGP clinical exam with the Clinical Competency Exam (CCE), which is now well established and able to deliver ‘high-quality exams’ despite lockdowns and other significant events such as the recent floods.
‘My gratitude to our members who gave up their time to be examiners for this exam,’ she said.
‘GPs are over-busy and exhausted by the pandemic, but they still find time to take on this additional load.
‘We couldn’t run the exam without them.’
Looking forward, Dr van Duuren says the Council of Censors will a focus on exam delivery, college-led training and to continue to advocate for and support members.
‘The Censors and I have done a lot of work on re-establishing the Council of Censor’s position in the college,’ she said.
‘With college-led training we now need to sit down together and decide how to ensure that the Council continues to add value to the RACGP and our membership.

The assessment framework is an area of future focus and will include the implementation of a progressive assessment program, review of our existing exams to ensure that they remain contemporary and updating our exam support and feedback.  

‘As Censor-in-Chief I look forward to further developing and implementing an education governance framework to embed quality, accountability, and a culture of continuous improvement in our work.’
While the role of Censor-in-Chief encompasses many responsibilities, Dr van Duuren has one she rates the highest.
‘The absolutely best part of it? Working with so many wonderful people in the RACGP across so many aspects of the college,’ she said.
And, like many GPs, she manages as ‘best she can’ to balance this work with her clinical practice.
‘I can never claim to have successfully balanced anything in my working life, it is always a juggle,’ she said.
‘I am very fortunate to work in a supportive practice … it is always a joy to spend time in clinical practice to connect with long-term patients who remind me why I think general practice is the best job ever.’
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Dr Mohsen Sadrneshin   31/08/2022 1:13:13 AM

With the huge failure RACGP had in managing exams I’m wondering why these censors are not directly elected by members and still keep going.
Can you count how many times you’ve changed your training programs and exams?
Do you think twice when deciding on changing training programs and exams? Did you know your decisions can affect people’s lives?
And yet you call your work a high-quality work!!!
Wake up RACGP, members aren’t happy with you.