Medical Board of Australia - MBA Medical student newsletter, Issue 1, April 2021
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MBA Medical student newsletter, Issue 1, April 2021

Medical student newsletter


Message from the Chair

We’re sending you this newsletter because, as a medical student in Australia, you are registered with the Medical Board of Australia. 

We will be a feature of your whole professional life because you need to be registered to practise medicine. We will be in touch from time to time while you’re a student, to introduce you to some of the things you will need to know about the medical profession and being a doctor.

As a medical student, you will be learning about good medical practice. In time, you will become skilled at using your judgement and insight. I encourage you to learn how to look after yourself. It will help you provide the best care for your patients.

Being a doctor is an incredible privilege. There are many ways to practise medicine in Australia, but its core tasks involve caring for people who are unwell and seeking to keep people, their families and communities well. Sharing these tasks is our common bond as doctors. Patients trust us. They allow us into their vulnerability, fears and joys. Our job is to justify that trust by being honest, ethical and trustworthy. 

We provide care for patients from all parts of our culturally and linguistically diverse community. We inhabit a land that, for many ages, was held and cared for by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, whose history and culture have uniquely shaped our nation. Our society is also enriched by the contribution of people from many nations who have made Australia their home. Medical students in Australia reflect the cultural diversity of our society and this diversity strengthens our profession. 

Until next time, I wish you well in your study of medicine and look forward to welcoming you to our profession when you graduate.

Dr Anne Tonkin

Dr Anne Tonkin
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

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Did you know you are registered?

Don’t worry, you didn’t have do anything to get registered. Your medical school took care of that when you started university. There are no fees for medical students to be registered, and Ahpra’s register of medical students is not public either.

The only parts of your life as a medical student that overlap with our role as a regulator relate to your health and your criminal history. Even in these areas, it’s really rare for us to get involved. 

You’ll only hear from us if you’re so unwell that we think it’s not safe for you to see patients while you study medicine. And you only need to tell us about your criminal history, if something so serious has happened that we have to make a decision about whether it’s safe for you to be registered. Legally, this is if you have been charged with an offence that could lead to at least a year in jail, or have been found guilty or convicted of it.

We have no role in your academic progress and don’t hear about your results. All of that is between you and your university.

We have your email address – which your medical school gave us – so we can get in touch when we need to, including to send you these newsletters. 

Later on, when you’ve graduated and are registered to practise, we’ll have more to do with each other – but we’ll get to that down the track. 

Read more about what student registration means.

Here are some FAQs

Why do I need to be registered as a medical student?

It’s in the law! But you didn’t have to do anything to get registered as a student – your university did it for you. The only parts of your life as a medical student that overlap with our role as a regulator relate to your health and your criminal history. And even in these areas, it’s really rare for us to get involved. 

Where can I find my student registration number?

Under the law, the student register is not public so you don’t have access to the registration details allocated to you.

I have to complete an elective overseas and need prove that I have student registration. Where can I get this?

Ahpra will notify your university when you have been successfully listed on the student register. 

You need to contact your university and ask for confirmation from university records that you are registered with Ahpra as a student.

If I take a break from medical school, do I need to let Ahpra know?

No. Universities share enrolment updates with us through the year. 

Got a question that hasn’t been answered? Let us know at [email protected]

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Check out the results of the Medical Training Survey 

Data from more than 21,000 doctors in training is now public and easy to access. That’s data from, not data about doctors in training. It’s from the Medical Training Survey (MTS), which asks doctors currently training in Australia what they think about the quality of their training. 

The MTS started in 2019 and is repeated each year. It’s safe and confidential to take part. The MTS results provide a snapshot of medical training in Australia through the eyes of doctors in training. Survey data is used by employers, colleges, educators, doctors in training and others to strengthen medical training.

Why do I need to know about the MTS?

You can use MTS data to learn what doctors in training think about their training. The data is intended to promote continuous improvement in training.

What are the MTS results going to show me?

The MTS results tell us what’s going well in medical training in Australia and what needs work. You can learn about the impact of COVID-19 on training and what doctors in training say about their training experience in different hospitals and specialties. 

You can access the MTS data in a series of static reports. Or you can use the online data dashboard to create your own reports, by filtering data. We’ve prioritised confidentiality, and only report on data when there are more than 10 responses.

Have a look at the 2020 MTS results and use the data dashboard to see what’s going on in training. It could also help inform your training choices.

Hear from doctors in training who have used the MTS to inform their decision on where they wanted to train.

Learn more on the MTS website, and read our FAQs. Get in touch with us at [email protected] if the answer to your question isn’t published.

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Your health matters

Look after yourself! That’s right, providing top healthcare to others starts with a bit of self-care. When you’re in tune with your mental and physical health, you have a good baseline to identify when you may not be okay. And then it’s about getting help when you need it. You might already know that traditionally, doctors are not great at seeking help. It’s time for your generation to put an end to that bad habit. You can start by making sure you have your own GP. You can also get help and support DRS4DRS, an independent national health service specifically for doctors and medical students. It’s funded by the Medical Board and run independently, through the Australian Medical Association, for doctors and medical students. It’s safe and confidential and a great source of support and information. Here’s a list of services in your state or territory:

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Professional pitfalls

Reading about tribunal decisions is a great way for medical students to learn about professional pitfalls and how to avoid them. Tribunals all around Australia deal with cases involving doctors. They operate like courts and have the power to stop or limit a doctor’s practice. 

Last year around Australia, tribunals heard 61 cases involving doctors. This is a really small number, given there are millions of doctor-patient consultations each year, and more than 125,000 registered medical practitioners. The Medical Board refers doctors to tribunals when they are seriously concerned about the risk to patients from a doctor’s practice.

Court and tribunal summaries are accessible via the Ahpra website

Want to know more?

For more information, see the Medical Board of Australia website and the Ahpra website.

Comment on the newsletter is welcome, send your suggestions to [email protected]

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Page reviewed 24/04/2024