The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) vocational training programs in rural and remote medicine have been developed by rural doctors, for rural doctors. The programs are based on comprehensive curricula that prepare doctors to attain the full scope of knowledge, skills and attitudes required to provide quality health care to rural and remote communities.
There are three ACRRM models/pathways for candidates training towards fellowship of ACRRM (FACRRM):
- Vocational Preparation Pathway – this pathway is suited to new graduates and is implemented through the Australian General Practice Training System;
- Remote Vocational Training Scheme – provides structured distance based learning for isolated and solo practitioners; and
- Independent Pathway – provides structured distance based learning for more experienced practitioners.
These models are underpinned by ACRRM standards, which define the learning outcomes, as well as the operating principles, policies, procedures and administrative mechanisms to ensure that ACRRM accredited training posts and providers are supported to provide quality training against ACRRM standards.
Registrars completing the fellowship of ACRRM through the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program and the Rural Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) are subject to the selection criteria of those organisations. The ACRRM works collaboratively with the AGPT and the RVTS to embed ACRRM’s selection principles within theirs. The ACRRM recruits registrars directly to its Independent Pathway and uses a set of selection criteria to assess them.
The ACRRM commenced its assessment process in 2008. There is no final exam in the assessment process, but rather progressive assessment, including five different assessment items, across the totality of the training program.
Successful completion of training requires:
- 12 months core clinical training in an ACRRM-accredited metropolitan, provincial or regional/rural hospital;
- 24 months primary rural and remote training in rural or remote ACRRM-accredited posts such as, hospitals, Aboriginal Medical Services or community/general practice based facilities;
- 12 months advanced specialised training in ACRRM-accredited posts in one of the following disciplines: surgery, obstetrics, anaesthetics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, emergency medicine, adult internal medicine, population health, paediatrics, mental health or remote health;
- successful completion of the college assessment program;
- completion of four modules from ACRRM’s online learning platform; and
- completion of two emergency courses.
Overseas Trained Doctors
Overseas trained specialists or international medical graduates seeking entry into ACRRM’s Specialist Pathway to Fellowship must first submit their application to the AMC. ACRRM’s Specialist Pathway program initially assesses a doctor’s comparability to an Australian-trained Fellow of ACRRM (FACRRM) through a paper-based assessment of the documentation provided by the AMC followed by an interview with the overseas trained specialist.
The purpose of the interview is to assess the overseas trained specialist’s level of comparability and identify knowledge or experience gaps. If an overseas trained specialist is deemed substantially comparable to an Australian-trained FACRRM they will undergo a period of peer review, complete the requirements as set out in their learning plan, and undertake a Multi-Source Feedback (MSF) assessment.
If an overseas trained doctor is found partially comparable to an Australian-trained FACRRM they will undertake the same process as an overseas trained specialist deemed substantially comparable but may be required to undertake a longer period of peer review and potentially undertake further assessment such as the Mini Clinical Examination (Mini-CEX), or a Structured Assessment using Multiple Patient Scenarios (StAMPS).
On successful completion of the period of peer review and assessment the overseas trained specialist is recommended for a FACRRM.
There are different categories of training post accreditation for different parts of ACRRM’s program. There is accreditation of posts for core clinical training, primary rural and remote training and advanced specialised training. All candidates training towards fellowship of ACRRM must be trained by accredited training providers and teachers in accredited posts. ACRRM has developed standards for accreditation of training providers, as well as standards for accreditation of training posts and teachers. Those that meet the ACRRM standards will be formally recognised and certified by ACRRM to deliver training towards FACRRM.