"...that if you don’t get it [the exam], we’ve maxed out the credit card and will probably lose the house..."
I remember sitting for the Fellowship exam. I remember how tired I was and how I so looked forward to passing it. Great friendships developed, as we studied to beat it. We studied in people’s kitchens, their dining rooms, on their patios, in garages, small coffee shops, canteens; basically wherever and whenever we could. We were hungry to get that exam and start a life as specialists and to stop studying. Was it going to be better? Different? Carefree? We didn’t know, we didn’t care, as long as we could do something other than review.
That day, leaving the house to sit the exam, is burnt in my memory. My wife was standing in the doorway, “I love you and I know you’ll do great! I need to tell you, that if you don’t get it, we’ve maxed out the credit card and will probably lose the house”. “Thanks honey, I love you too”. No pressure!
The result was good on that day. I went from disliking study for study’s sake, to setting up courses left, right and center.
People still ask me why I do it. “Why do you spend so much time doing Fellowship Teaching?” They know full well, that there’s not much financial benefit after all the costs and the dust has settled. In fact doing a few locum shifts would be far more lucrative than putting together virtual websites and exam questions and notes and feedback and face to face days and more. It would also get me into less trouble at home!
Why do I do it?…..Because there was nothing like it for me and I wanted to change that. There were certainly dedicated people out there teaching and I remember going to their hospitals and getting great tutes. The Jenny Brooke’s, the Epstein’s, Angelo over at the Angliss, James at the Northern. They inspired me! They were my heroes. They stayed back after their shifts and helped. What they did for me, I do for the registrars today. But on top of this, I realised that to reach and give benefit to more registrars, we had to do more and be more!
These courses that I set up today, were nowhere to be seen in my day. The 6 Month Fellowship Course morphed from what I can only call an inspired course, that my colleagues and I, at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, put together. This was the Kamikaze Fellowship Course. If I do say so myself, this was a great course. We pushed hard to make it what it was. We struggled, we strove, we taught and it WAS successful. I am proud to say that it was the first and most successful (in terms of attendance and results) Fellowship Course of its kind, ever run.
Today things have changed, we have a new exam and we need more. It’s all different and yet it’s all the same. We’ve had to grow with the times. We’ve had to add virtual components, videos and tute sheets and practice MCQ’s and EMQ’s and SAQ’s and a bulging bank of over 1500 questions that grows daily. By the end of 2015 there will be over 2000 questions in the bank. By end of 2016 our aim is 4000 questions.
The Candidates love it. However, 6 months of virtual is not enough and so we’ve now gone the route of adding 4 days of face to face teaching time, where we examine, teach, remind, stir, prod and push harder and harder, to get it all done. With great texts like ‘Own the ABG’, ‘Own the ECG’, ‘Every Xray you need to know’ and more, plus websites such as www.ecgcore.com, as well as the EMCORE conference and others, we make it easy to study anywhere anytime.
One of the things we have found, is that there is a need for structure. Registrars sometimes just don’t know where to start. This course gives them that. I’m proud of it and want it to be the definitive course people use, to get the exam. That’s why we keep adding and improving and refining!
One of the previous course attendees, who passed the Fellowship and came to a recent EMCORE Conference, said the following:
“I am inspired by Dr Kas’s enthusiasm for teaching others. Before I hated how much we need to know or how long we need to learn for in medicine. Now, I realise it’s a life long journey. I have learnt to embrace it and have the love to learn more and more and more …especially from other people’s experiences.”
Learning IS a life long journey. EMBRACE IT, LOVE IT, SHARE IT!
Good luck to all of you studying for the exam. I wish you every success….but you know….. luck has nothing to do with it!
I would love it, if you attended the 6 Month Written Fellowship Course, but even if you don’t, join us at @fellowshipexam for regular udpdates, practice questions and more.
Good Learning, Good Luck and Good Strategy and remember “The knowledge you take into your shift DOES matter”.