onthewards and beyond


on health and wellbeing | on the job | on the wards


14 April 2018     |     Civic Pavilion, The Concourse     |     Sydney

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What to expect

The inaugural onthewards conference will be the first in Australia independently created for junior doctors and medical students by junior doctors. 

onthewards and beyond will equip you with the knowledge and skills to not only survive but to excel.

The conference will focus on essential clinical skills, address common concerns about career progression, provide you with valuable insights on how to get that next job, as well as managing difficult situations at work and staying healthy in the workplace.

onthewards and beyond will leave you feeling more confident about your patient care, your career and your wellbeing.

From the creators behind Australia's top online junior doctor education resource. 

If you work on the wards and love the onthewards blogs and podcasts, this is a conference not to miss.

Essential clinical skills

ECG in 20s 

CXR findings not to miss 

Blood gases

Interactive quizzes

The sick child


Professionalism & leadership

How to deal with a difficult boss 

Negotiation skills 

Dealing & resolving conflict 

Dealing with difficult situations 

Effective communication

Career planning

Top 5 mistakes junior doctors make in their CV 

Medicine without coats 

The road less travelled 

Taking a gap year

Balancing life and medicine: finding the sweet spot

Health & wellbeing

Identifying sources of stress & fatigue 

Recognising burnout 

Strategies to manage stress & promote wellbeing



James Edwards

James is the Founder of onthewards, a Senior Staff Specialist and Acting Director of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) Emergency Department.  He is also the current Clinical Chair of the NSW Prevocational Training

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 Council at the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) and in the Sydney University Medical Program chairs the pre-internship committee.  James is the inaugural Medical Director of the Sydney Local Health District Demand Management Unit.



 Arjun Rao

Arjun is a Staff Specialist in Paediatric Emergency at Sydney Children's Hospital, and a Conjoint Lecturer in Medicine at the University of New South Wales.  He is a member of Advanced Paediatric Life Support, Australasia and regularly instructs on both provider and instructor courses.Read more..

Arj is involved in simulation training at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick and completed the Harvard Institute of Medical Simulation in 2012.  He also has an interest in online learning and been involved in a number of online education projects.  Arj completed his medical degree at the University of Sydney and FRACP in Paediatrics and Paediatric Emergency at the Royal Australian College of Physicians.






Josh Pillemer

Josh is an Intensive Care Fellow at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.  Although he thoroughly enjoys the excitement and stimulation of ICU medicine, he is learning that it's the quieter moments spent with patients and their families that matter the most. He now needs to learn to spend some moments Read more..

with his own family!




Amandeep Hansra

Amandeep Hansra is a leader in digital health and telehealth services in Australia. Sheco -founded Evermed Consulting and provides consulting services to insurers, start ups, health services, investors and businesses. She was most recently the CEO & Medical Director of Telstra's telemedicine business ReadyCare; a  Read more..

joint venture between Telstra and Medgate, Switzerland’s leading telemedicine provider. She also served as the Chief Medical Officer for Telstra Health and separately has assisted Medgate in setting up a telemedicine business in the Philippines where she remains the Chair of the Clinical Advisory Board. She is a locally trained specialist General Practitioner who has worked both nationally and overseas.
Amandeep has a passion for medical start-ups and entrepreneurship providing advisory services for start-ups in the health technology space. She has been awarded the “Women Leading in Business Scholarship” for the Global Executive MBA at the University of Sydney.
Her past career has included both public, volunteer and private work, as well as in Aboriginal Health, Refugee Health, Occupational Medicine and Travel Medicine. She is a Fellow of the RACGP, a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Informatics, an examiner for the RACGP, holds a Master’s in Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the Australia Certificate in Civil Aviation Medicine, mentors junior doctors through the AMA and has completed the Company Directors Course through AICD.





Wynne Sum

Wynne is currently a Senior Staff Specialist Radiologist at Concord Hospital as well as a Visiting Medical Officer at Nepean Hospital.  She was formerly the Director of Training in the Radiology Department at Concord Hospital.  Her subspecialty areas of interest are in cardiac and thoracic/abdominal imaging, having completed a Fellowship in cross-sectional imaging at St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto.  She has presented at numerous local and international conferences and has been an invited speaker and chairperson at cardiac CT angiograpy meetings.


Sarah Dalton

Sarah is a Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at The Children's Hospital at Westmead as well as Clinical Lead at the Agency for Clinical Innovation in NSW.  She is President for the Division of Paediatrics and Child Health at the..

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 Royal Australasian College of Physicians.  Sarah has a long-standing interest in trainee development, and is a strong advocate for improving Quality and Safety in Healthcare.  She has a particular interest in clinicians leading change and completed a Fullbright Scholarship to evaluate Clinical Leadership Development Programs in the US.



Renee Lim

Renee has worked for over 14 years as a Locum Registrar in Emergency, Geriatrics and Palliative Care.  She is also a very experienced professional actor and these skills, combined with her medical expertise and educational knowledge and experience, have allowed her to expand her role in the devising of new scenarios and formats for the Pam McLean

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workshops.  Renee has also developed high-level facilitator skills and contributed to strategic planning and product development to ensure the ongoing viability and growth of the Centre.  Renee also plays a key role in training of facilitators and actors, development of online training modules including film, and expansion of new topics areas in graduate and postgraduate settings.





Bridget Johnson

Bridget is a Palliative Care physician in Sydney. She is passionate about excellence in clinical care and mentoring junior medical staff through the system to meet their goals. As a consultant physician and the mother of three children, Bridget speaks about work life compromise from experience.




Natalie Thurtle

Natalie is currently a consultant emergency physician and post-graduate Fellow in Toxicology at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.  She has worked with Medicins Sans Frontieres since 2008, most recently managing an Emergency Department in Mosul, Iraq.  Read more..

She works for a small UK NGO www.doctorsfornepal.org which is engaged in trying to improve healthcare access for people in remote, rural Nepal.  Natalie is also working on a PhD at the University of Sydney looking at severe childhood lead poisoning in Nigeria.





Karen Scott

Karen is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Child Adolescent Health and is based at The Children's Hospital at Westmead Clinical School.  Her research into medical students' experience of 'teaching by humiliation' has been published in the Medical Journal of Australia and other medical and medical education journals, The Conversation, ABC Radio and several newspapers, and informed a Four Corners episode on the same name. 


Bethan Richards

Bethan developed the BPTOK pilot program for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.  The program was designed to empower Basic Physician Trainees with skills and knowledge, not only to make them better physicians but also to help them..

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maintain their health and wellbeing during training and beyond.  Bethan is currently the Head of Rheumatology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and previously the Basic Physician Training Network Director.  She has a wealth of experience in designing and implementing successful mentoring and teaching programs.   



Stewart Dunn

Stewart is Professor of Psychological Medicine in Sydney Medical School Northern and, previously, Associate Dean for Admissions.  He has extensive teaching commitments in the Sydney Medical Program and his clinical specialty is psychological care in cancer.  Stewart completed Fellowship studies in the USA and UK,

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studies in the USA and UK, and conducted research at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for 17 years before his appointment at Royal North Shore Hospital in 1995.  He has published widely in psychological aspects of medical illness and doctor-patient communication and he has received nine research travel awards and seven teaching awards.  Stewart's other interests include multidisciplinary teams, error and open disclosure following an adverse event.  As Director of the Pam McLean Centre he has facilitated workshops with students and health professional in Australia and internationally for more than 20 years.





Chris Elliot

Chris is the father of three children and a husband.  He is also a consultant paediatrician in Sydney.  He works part-time in both public and private practice as well as being involved in teaching, education and research.  It took Chris more than a decade to figure out a happy work life compromise but  Read more..

 he hopes that if you learn from his mistakes, you can do it faster and or better.  




Amy Coopes

Amy is a medical student, journalist and mother to a young son.  After a decade in news reporting, Amy swapped her steno pad for a stethoscope, and is on the home stretch of her BMed MD, based at the University of New South Wales Albury-Wodonga Rural Clinical School. Read more..

When she is not studying for exams or wrangling an emo toddler, Amy continues to freelance for outlets including the British Medical Journal, and she is an editor at Croakey.org, a social journalism initiative for health.





Jo River

Jo River is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Family Based Mental Health Care, and a social scientist specialising in mental health.  She explores consumer-led approaches to mental health care, such as Open Dialogue.  She also researches the social context of suicidal behaviour, including men's work-related suicidal distress, and the relationship between masculinities and men's suicide methods.


 Peter Kas

Peter is a Senior Emergency Physician, Director of Emergency Medical Training, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame and Clinical Lecturer at the University of Queensland.  He is also a blogger and 

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architect. Peter's main interests in medicine include resuscitation and emergency cardiology.  He is creator and editor of www.resus.com.au a free medical education website, rated in the top critical care blogs in the world.  Peter is also the creator of the EMcore Conferences (www.emcore.com.au) and creator of 'The ECG in 20 Seconds' System.  His passion is education and the deconstruction of difficult topics into their core learning elements. 



Anthony Llewellyn

Anthony is an expert in Medical HR His background is as a Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Manager with 20 years experience as a medical practitioner in public health and leadership roles.  Anthony was formerly the Medical Director of the Health Education and Training Institute.

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He is now a Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle and the Co-Founder of Advancemed (www.advancemed.com.au)  providing career support to medical trainees.






James Dent

James is a Staff Specialist working in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) Emergency Department.  He has a special interest in ultrasound and co-ordinates the registrar ultrasound training program.  James is also the most recent recipient of the RPAH Teacher of the Year award. 




David Coker

David is a General Surgical Registrar at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.  He is interested in medical education, and is currently completing a Masters of Surgical Education through the University of Melbourne,  More importantly he is incredibly fortunate to have an amazing wife,  Read more..

and two daughters, who repeatedly show him that there is much more to life than work though he is a slow learner.





Paul Dwyer

Paul is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney.  He has published widely on the uses of theatre in education, health and welfare settings, as well as performances of reconciliation and conflict transformation in Australia and Bougainville (PNG).  As a professional theatre-maker, Paul is best known for his work in documentary theatre, including Tribunal, The Bougainville Photoplay Project, and Grace Under Pressure.


How to read any ECG in 20 seconds - Peter Kas

This talk will show you how to read the ECG in 6 simple steps.  We will cover, sinoatrial blocks, atrioventricular blocks, the wide complex tachycardia that is and isn't VT, subtle ischaemic changes you mustn't miss and more.



CXR findings not to miss - Wynne Sum

Chest Xrays are one of the most frequently requested radiological examinations.  As junior doctors, you are expected to interrpet them and initiate appropriate management - often after hours and before the formal report is finalised!  In this session, we will discuss an approach to interpreting a chest radiograph, with particular emphasis on recognising those findings that require immediate medical attention.



Blood gases - Josh Pillemer

"What does the gas show?" - a simple question you hope nobody EVER asks you!  The world of acid-base is an intimidating monster that terrifies even the most seasoned ward doctors. Even though acid-base is impossible to understand, there are some tips that can help make blood gas interpretation less daunting.



Ultrasound will save your life - James Dent

Bedside ultrasound - surely this is the future?!

You receive a drowsy 78yo lady on your night shift in the emergency department. She is hypotensive, cold and has crackles in her lungs. Her CXR looks like she might have an atypical pneumonia, of maybe CCF. Do you give fluids? Lasix? Antibiotics? Aspirin?

Ultrasound can be a powerful tool to help you differentiate causes of shock, confirm or rule out specific diagnoses and at the very least, get a cannula in the un-cannulatable patient!  James will be giving an oversight into how ultrasound can help you take care of the critically ill patient and what the future of ultrasound in critical care might look like.



Assessing and managing the sick child on the wards - Arjun Rao

A parent presents to emergency concerned that their baby is unwell. The thought of having to assess and manage a potentially unwell baby can be quite confronting. In this session you will gain some simple tools to help you with recognition and initial management of a “sick baby”. While children aren’t little adults you don’t need to throw out everything you already know to manage a sick baby!



How to deal with a difficult boss - Anthony Llewellyn

Working in medicine involves working with a diverse range of others.  Unfortunately dealing with workplace diversity is generally not covered as a topic in formal medical training curricula.  This often leaves the junior doctor wondering why it is that they find certain supervisors challenging when others do not and vice versa.

In this interactive discussion Anthony will take you through some of the common types of supervisors that you may encounter in your training and why you might find it difficult to work for them.  As well as some tips and techniques for getting the most out of every type of supervisor relationship.  You will be encouraged to reflect on your own personality and communication style and how it might impact upon certain supervisor relationships.



Can you walk the talk? - Renee Lim & Stewart Dunn

Under the guidance of an expert facilitator and professional actors this hands-on, experiential learning opportunity will not only increase your knowledge and skill, but your understanding and interpretation of human behaviour and the value of good communication within the health system.

The Pam McLean Centre (PMC) specialises in creating teaching workshops that allow participants to have individualised learning experiences. We explore the structure of and skills involved in psychology around outcomes from health based interactions. Our immersive interactive role plays look at complex communication problems medical professionals’ face in day to day practice.



Top 5 mistakes junior doctors make in their CVs - James Edwards

Selection onto a training program or working at your preferred hospital is an incredibly competitive process.  As someone who sits on selection panels, these decisions are very difficult.  

Don't make it easy for the selection panel, avoid the common mistakes made by doctors in preparing their CV.

In this session James will list the 5 mistakes that doctors make in their CVs that prevents them from getting the job they want.



Career choices for junior doctors:  How to survive and thrive in medicine - Sarah Dalton

When you jump on the medical education train, it's easy to feel like the journey is planned and you just move from station to station. But sometimes it's hard to know which train to catch, when to get on - and for some - when to get off. Deciding which path to take can be a challenge, and things don't always go to plan. How do you decide what's right for you? Sarah shares her experiences and tips on how to navigate the excellent adventure that is your medical training.



Balancing life and medicine: finding the sweet spot - David Coker, Amy Coopes, Chris Elliot, Amandeep Hansra, Bridget Johnson

Our medical heroes are often those clinicians, teachers and researchers who display (or at least seem to) a superhuman commitment to the art and science of Medicine above all else. Where does that leave you if your talents and passions include other things as well as medicine?  Is it possible to find balance between medicine, parenthood and your other passions?

A special onthewards panel includes accomplished people from students to specialists discussing the compromises they’ve made to follow their passions outside of medicine - whether as a parent, journalist or entrepreneur. Expect to hear a whole new way of being in Medicine.



Taking a gap year:  The road less travelled - Natalie Thurtle

Natalie will talk about working for Medicins Sans Frontieres, the steps to take and how to prepare yourself for working in the field. 



Grace Under Pressure:  Creatively approaching health in the workplace - Karen Scott, Jo River, Paul Dwyer

In this session members of the Sydney Arts and Health Collective will present key excerpts from the 2017 verbatim theatre play Grace Under Pressure, which playwrights David Williams and Paul Dwyer composed from the verbatim words of doctors interviewed about workplace stresses last year. Following each excerpt, there will be a facilitated discussion that identifies the drivers of specific forms of workplace stress and creatively examines possibilities for response and coping. The Sydney Arts and Health Collective hopes to contribute long term to culture change in which the health of both doctors and their patients is better safeguarded.  



Lessons from BPTOK: Practical tips for Doctors in Training to maintain wellness, prevent burnout & influence positive system change - Bethan Richards

The most important patient we need to take care of is the one in the mirror.  Yet with the ever expanding skills and knowledge to learn, exams to pass, jobs to secure, day and night shift to complete, and outside medicine commitments to fulfil, this rarely occurs.  There are many strategies that Doctors in Training can use to take wellness into their own hands and at the same time help drive positive system change.  This session will provide practical advice for junior doctors on how to prioritise and maintain wellbeing during the training years.



Program details


8.15 - 8.45am


Essential clinical skills







 James Edwards

9.00 - 9.05am


Welcome to Country



9.05 - 9.45am


How to read any ECG in 20 seconds 


Peter Kas

9.45 - 10.05am


Ultrasound will save your life


James Dent

10.05 - 10.25am


Blood gases


 Josh Pillemer

10.25 - 10.45am


CXR findings not to miss


 Wynne Sum

10.45 - 11.05am


Assessing and managing the sick child


Arjun Rao

11.05 - 11.08am


Wavelength International


Richard Taylor

11.10 - 11.30am


break - morning tea




Professionalism and leadership






Jenny Liu

11.30am - 12.00pm


How to deal with a difficult boss


Anthony Llewellyn

12.00 - 12.40pm


Can you walk the talk?


Renee Lim and Stewart Dunn

12.40 - 1.30pm


break - lunch



Career planning




 Alan Giles

1.30 - 1.50pm


Top 5 mistakes junior doctors make in their CV


James Edwards

1.50 - 2.20pm


Career planning and choices for junior doctors


Sarah Dalton

2.20 - 3.00pm


Balancing life and medicine: finding the sweet spot


Chris Elliot, Bridge Johnson, Amandeep Hansra, Amy Coopes

3.00 - 3.30pm


The road less travelled


Natalie Thurtle

3.30- 3.45pm


break - afternoon tea



Health and Wellbeing




 Antonia Clarke

3.45 - 4.25pm


Creatively approaching health in the workplace


Karen Scott, Jo River, Paul Dwyer

4.25 - 4.50pm


Lessons from BPTOK


Bethan Richards

4.50 - 5.00pm




Organising committee

James Edwards

Nadia Perera

Emily Nash

Evangelie Polyzos

Sam Foley

Sarah Dalton

Beckie Singer

Elie Matar

Dennis Neuen

The Concourse

409 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067, Australia

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About onthewards

onthewards is designed to assist junior doctors during the early years of clinical practice - providing practical, educational content, in the form of clinical podcasts, and blogs providing tips for surviving on the hospital wards.

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