The Medical Observership Program offers participants a unique shadowing experience at The Alfred’s Trauma Service and within other speciality units as required. Candidates who are accepted into this program will attend The Alfred Hospital to observe the advanced management of trauma patients at a world class Level 1 Trauma Centre. 

Further Information

Essential Resources »

The Alfred Observership Program Eligibility »

Medical PersonnelThe Observership Program is open to postgraduate medical personnel who have an interest in furthering their knowledge and skills in trauma care. We welcome Expressions of Interest from both domestic and international applicants. The program is suitable for both physician and surgical trainees/specialists, and will be custom designed to achieve goals relevant to the applicant’s experience and desired learning outcomes. The Alfred Trauma Service regularly accepts Observers with a wide range of experience in trauma. It is ideal for those wishing to advance their own and/or their establishment’s capabilities in trauma care.

Observerships can be completed as a standalone placement or combined with a Fellowship Program. Please refer to the relevant section on The Alfred Trauma Service Fellowship Program for more information.

In some cases, namely for international candidates seeking entry into the Fellowship Program, completion of The Alfred Trauma Service Medical Observership Program may be required. This allows candidates to gain a better understanding of how the Australian medical system and The Alfred Trauma Service functions enabling a smoother transition into the program.

Medical StudentsThe Alfred Trauma Service accepts applications from both domestic and international medical students who are interested in undertaking a Medical Observership elective. Such elective rotations are typically four to six weeks in duration, and must have a minimum duration of two weeks. For further information and to apply, please contact Ms. Kim Williams, Co-ordinator-Trauma Team Training whose contact details are listed below.

Background »

The Alfred Hospital, based in Melbourne, Australia, was founded in 1871. The Alfred is the busiest trauma centre in Australasia and has one of the largest and most advanced intensive care units in the region. As a major tertiary-referral hospital, it provides one of the most comprehensive ranges of specialist acute health in Victoria. The Alfred is the designated surgical state-wide provider of major trauma, burns, heart and lung replacement and transplantation and hyperbaric medicine.

The Alfred is a recognised world leader in trauma and critical care and has successfully developed and delivered international, interdisciplinary trauma training programs, linked to infrastructure capacity building and data monitoring.

The Alfred is a Monash University teaching hospital. Monash University is ranked in the top one percent of world universities and has a global reputation for research into accidents and injury, supporting trauma research and education as well as administering the Victorian State Trauma Outcome Registry (VSTR).

In 2003, The Alfred and Monash University established the National Trauma Research Institute (NTRI) that co-ordinates the clinical research and education activities that are run by The Alfred Trauma Service and Monash University.

The Trauma Service Observership Program at Alfred Health will be managed and run by staff from The Alfred Trauma Service, NTRI and Monash University.

Clinical Departments Affiliated With Program »

Candidates will integrate and become part of The Alfred Trauma Service team. A structured program of development over the duration of their placement will allow maximal exposure to the units which form part of the multidisciplinary approach for managing the trauma patient. The main units involved include:

  • Trauma Service
  • Emergency & Trauma Centre
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Anaesthetic Unit
  • Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit
  • Orthopaedics Unit
  • Radiology (Trauma Imaging) Unit

A description of the key features of each ward/unit can be found in the relevant section in The Alfred Trauma Service Visitors Welcome Pack.

Duration of Observership »

The duration of the Observership Program with The Alfred Trauma Service can range from 1 day up to a maximum of 6 weeks. The length of the program will be specified for each applicant and will depend on their experience, goals and expectations. On initial application, the Clinical Co-ordinator can provide assistance with determining the optimum period of time to spend with the Trauma Service.

Program Objectives »

The program is designed to familiarise the candidate with the Australian medical system and particularly The Alfred’s Trauma Service and relevant speciality units, some of which are listed in the previous section. Each candidate will be set clear objectives and these will be directly linked to the speciality of choice.

The objectives of the program are mainly clinically related and achieved through observation and attendance of patient rounds. In general, the objectives involve the enhancement of the candidate’s:

  • Familiarity with the reception & resuscitation phase of the trauma patient
  • Understanding of the Trauma Service’s care processes and procedures
  • Understanding of the trauma patient’s journey (from admission to discharge)
  • Familiarity with the pre-hospital care and general surgical procedures provided to trauma patients
  • Understanding of the handover approach for trauma patients at The Alfred
  • Ability to interpret outcomes from weekly audits of trauma cases

If an Observership Program is greater than one month in duration, the candidate is expected to engage in an activity that will allow the candidate to contribute towards the adoption of a significant medical practice change at their health service. This can be in the form of but not limited to an audit, a review of practice, guideline/protocol development or literature review. A non-clinical day will be allocated once per week to the candidate to allow suitable time for this activity.

Observership Program Structure »

The structure of the Observership Program depends on the duration of the program. A schedule of activities will be provided to each accepted applicant prior to their commencement. The structure will be tailored accordingly, allowing each Observer to gain maximum exposure throughout their program.

Relevant Courses »

The Alfred Emergency and Trauma Centre run a number of Emergency Medicine courses throughout the year. Candidates may enrol in relevant courses that coincide with (and/or take place shortly before and/or after) their Observership Program. The fees and applications to these courses are separate to those for the Observership Program. Full details on all courses can be found HERE

A number of relevant courses that are run by providers external to The Alfred may also be of interest to candidates undertaking the Observership Program. An overview of these courses and external providers will be provided by the Clinical Co-ordinator at The Alfred.

Exclusions »

  • English language: The program will be delivered in English and Alfred Health will not provide interpretation services for candidates participating in the program. It is highly preferable that the candidate has demonstrated sufficient English language skills as set out by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Occupational English Test (OET).
  • Clinical Practice responsibilities: Observers are unable to participate in any patient care responsibilities such as patient history taking or examination, undertaking patient management or clinical procedures and they cannot document in the clinical record. A full list of the clinical practice responsibilities that are available to and/or unavailable to Medical Observers can be found in Alfred Health Appointment of Medical Observers Guideline (Link)
  • Fellowship Program: The time spent completing the Observership Program is separate to, and does not form any part of the duration of a Fellowship Program.

Application Process: Observership »

Applications for this program can be presented at any time to The Alfred. The application process commences once a candidate submits an Expression of Interest (EOI) to The Alfred.

The second stage in the application process involves a video-conference interview with the applicant along with relevant attendees from the applicant’s organisation (if required). The application will then be formally reviewed by the selection panel at The Alfred. If the applicant is successful, the acceptance process is activated beginning with sending the successful applicant an acceptance letter signed by the Director of Trauma Services at The Alfred as well as a list of mandatory documents that the applicant needs to provide to The Alfred.

The mandatory documents include:

  • Scanned colour copy of medical registration (in English). If not please arrange for it to be translated into English
  • Chest X-Ray result (image not required, the formal report will suffice, however, it must be in English)
  • Proof of immune/vaccination status for chickenpox, measles/mumps/rubella, polio, pertussis/tetanus (in English)
  • Scanned colour copy of passport photo page

Formal acceptance into the Observership Program (letter by The Alfred Medical Services Director along with The Alfred Trauma Service Visitors Welcome Pack) will be provided to the applicant via email. A full list of items included can be found in The Alfred Trauma Service Visitors Welcome Pack.

The application process and the exchange of relevant documents is mostly done via email. In order to ensure that this process runs effectively, email recipients are expected to confirm the receipt of emails and documents.

The different stages in the program’s application process are presented in the diagram below:

Evaluation of Performance »

The candidate will meet with relevant and/or supervising staff from The Alfred on a regular basis to assess the objectives as outlined prior to commencement. Feedback will also be obtained from each specific unit and provided to the candidate. Informal feedback may also include peer and nursing evaluation.