State Government Victoria Australia Department of Health header
State Government Victoria
Victorian Government Health Information
Health Home
Main A to Z Index | Site Map | About Health  

October 2016

Group of people in hospital jpeg
Anaesthesia investigators (left to right) Adriano Cocciante, Martin Nguyen, Candida Marane, Elizabeth Hessian and John Ozcan were involved in the innovative study which put potential trainees in a high-pressure simulated medical crisis.

Crisis simulation helps find the right anaesthesia trainees

Selecting suitable trainees into the highly-competitive, rigorous field of anaesthesia will become easier thanks to an innovative Western Health study.

Recruiters are moving away from traditional, standard methods of selection to focus on candidate performance in a high-pressure simulated medical crisis, leadership and communication skills and personality testing to choose the right registrars.

Led by deputy director of the department of anaesthesia and pain medicine at Western Health Elizabeth Hessian, this approach looks at alternative ways to recruit anaesthesia registrars to the training program.

Trainee selection has traditionally relied on standard methods of curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation and interview – which can be poor predictors of future performance.

‘Entry into anaesthesia training is highly-competitive and we want to ensure that our patients are cared for by anaesthetists who have been optimally selected for their suitability to train and work in this area,’ Dr Hessian said.

‘Evaluation of CV, references and interview provides a lot of information about candidate suitability but, sometimes, we have a situation where candidates we know are good in the theatre setting fail to obtain entry because they do not interview well.

The 30 candidates shortlisted for interview with the North Western Anaesthesia Training Scheme were put through their paces during the selection day held at the Western Centre for Health Research and Education at Sunshine Hospital.

The process included an interview, high-pressure simulated medical crisis, computer-based personality test and feedback survey.

Department of anaesthesia investigators closely looked at non-technical skills including leadership, teamwork, resource management and situational awareness.

Simulation is increasingly being used as an important component of clinical education at Western Health and this study followed recent research into the use of simulation for selection of critical care trainees.