Category: News

May 2018 newsletter is now available

Our May 2018 newsletter has been released.  Highlights include updates from the SERT and DASO teams, the Sydney Medical Program and the Postgraduate Research and Training Programs.

RNSH Data Analysis and Surgical Outcomes (DASO) Unit Update.

by Maria Albania

The RNS DASO Unit continues our recruitment progress by welcoming our first data manager Wally Shi. Wally has a degree in BSc. (Biological Science) and joined the Unit after a decade of service to NSW Health Pathology with SSWPS Liverpool, SEALS Prince of Wales, and Pathology West, Westmead. Wally has extensive experience in human resource management, auditing, preparation and presentation of key performance indicators, quality control, quality assurance, training, and workflow review, analysis and improvement. Wally is keen to continue developing strategies to help reduce errors and improve efficiencies of data processes.

The RNS DASO Unit also welcomes Peter Moritz, Acute Surgical Unit/DASO Unit data manager, who has extensive experience in clinical data systems, data management and analysis. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) from the University of Queensland, Peter went on to study as a medical student within the Queensland Health and gained a valuable insight into the hospital system from a clinical perspective. Prior to joining the DASO Unit, Peter was a Clinical Data Analyst with a corporate healthcare company and developed reports on clinical data for a range of projects, including research investigations and the evaluation of federal government initiatives. Peter’s keen interest in the medical field has also seen him assist in biological research and volunteer with charities that help patients and their families. Peter brings a passion for developing robust data processes to evaluate programs and is always keen to further his knowledge of statistical analysis.

In other exciting news, we have been busy developing Powerforms and KPI data collection and analysis tools for the new Acute Surgical Unit, and a data manager for Interventional Neuroradiology is soon to come on board. A data manager for Cardiothoracic Surgery is also in the process of being recruited.

New Academic Appointment at RNSH

Dr Jonathon Parkinson was a medical student at RNSH, before going on to complete Neurosurgical training across Sydney and Newcastle. During this time, he also completed a PhD in the Cancer Genetics Laboratory at the Kolling Institute, examining the molecular biology of glioma. Following his Neurosurgical training, Jonathon undertook a fellowship in complex spinal surgery at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, Alberta. On his return to Australia, he took up his current appointments as a VMO at Royal North Shore, North Shore Private and Sydney Adventist Hospitals. Jonathon’s main areas of clinical and research interest are in complex spinal surgery and neurooncology, with the latter seeing him on the Management Committee of the Co-operative Trials Group in Neuro-oncology (COGNO) Australasia’s dominant neuro-oncology society. He also has a keen interest in medical student, registrar and fellow education across both clinical and academic areas. Dr Parkinson has arranged for a RACS Foundation Skills for Surgical Educators (FSSE) course to be run at RNSH on Saturday 28th October 2017. This is a compulsory but highly regarded course for all surgeons who are in contact with surgical trainees. For more information about attending this or future courses please contact Jonathon at jparkinson@med.usyd.edu.au.

Surgical Academia – Congratulations Dr Marcus Handmer

Dr Marcus Handmer

Surgical Academia is the engagement of surgeons beyond merely managing patients. It includes teaching, education, research and mentoring activities. It also involves surgeons taking leadership in the administration and decision-making of the hospital. This new section of the SERT newsletter recognises achievements of surgeons within and beyond their clinical practice.

We will like to congratulate Dr Marcus Handmer, a Urology registrar on the Northern rotation for winning the second prize in Bongiorno’s essay competition for his essay titled ‘Practical prescriptions for hospitals – improvement without reinvention.’ You can read the full essay here.

Please let Shelly know if you would like to showcase your department’s achievements through the SERT Institute.

Director of Surgical Skills Training Update

by Dr Anubhav Mittal

Clinical Skills Centre, RNSH

The Skills Centre has continued to deliver high-quality skills training under the direction of Dr A. Mittal and with the help of Ms Jenny Ludeman and her staff. The latest successful course was a home-grown advanced Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary laparoscopic course using cadaveric specimen which was well attended by national and international candidates. The Skills Module of the Masters of Surgery program to be held on 26-28th October 2017 will be the next major course that will be run by Professor Hugh and Dr Mittal.

Two new Academic Surgeon positions to be advertised through the SERT Institute

Two academic lead roles relating to the ‘Masters of Surgery’ program and to ‘Postgraduate Research and Training’ will be advertised shortly (0.2FTE each). The SERT Institute will send out an Expression of Interest once these positions are on e-Recruit. Please submit an application if either of these two roles interest you.
The successful candidates will need to demonstrate surgical practice integrated with teaching and research. There are no clinical privileges associated with this appointment other than what a candidate already has or can be separately negotiated with a clinical department.

Data Analysis and Surgical Outcomes (DASO) Unit Update

by Maria Albania

The DASO Unit has already started making progress by increasing the number of resources for data management and audit support within the Division of Surgery. Two data manager positions are currently in the approval process to be recruited through the DASO Unit.

The NSLHD is committed to supporting existing and additional data management and audit services in the Division of Surgery & Anaesthesia at RNSH. The DASO Unit also has access to ongoing funding for distribution to departments across the division for the purpose of supporting surgical data management and audit activities.
To apply for resources for data support for your department please address each of the criteria below in a short application letter to the DASO unit:

  1. Surgical data/audit tasks & processes – outline both current and proposed data/audit processes to be undertaken in your department
  2. Current resources – describe what data management/support resources are currently available to your department
  3. Data capture & database systems – outline which systems and software packages are currently or will be used to capture clinical data in your department
  4. Reporting & analysis – outline how the data for your department will be analysed and reported and the intended use/purpose of the data
  5. Level of clinician engagement – detail the department’s expectation of how clinicians will be engaged in data and audit processes. Specifically please nominate a clinician who will be the data and audit champion for your department
  6. Requested resources – provide an estimate of the data management workload and personnel you might require

For more information please contact Maria Albania, DASO Unit Manager at Maria.Albania@health.nsw.gov.au or 02 9926 4560.

New Academic Appointment at RNSH

Dr Jonathon Parkinson

Dr Jonathon Parkinson was a medical student at RNSH, before going on to complete Neurosurgical training across Sydney and Newcastle. During this time, he also completed a PhD in the Cancer Genetics Laboratory at the Kolling Institute, examining the molecular biology of glioma.

Following his Neurosurgical training, Jonathon undertook a fellowship in complex spinal surgery at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, Alberta. On his return to Australia, he took up his current appointments as a VMO at Royal North Shore, North Shore Private and Sydney Adventist Hospitals.
Jonathon’s main areas of clinical and research interest are in complex spinal surgery and neuro-oncology, with the latter seeing him on the Management Committee of the Co-operative Trials Group in Neuro-oncology (COGNO), Australasia’s dominant neuro-oncology society. He also has a keen interest in medical student, registrar and fellow education across both clinical and academic areas.

Dr Parkinson has arranged for a RACS Foundation Skills for Surgical Educators (FSSE) course to be run at RNSH on Saturday 28th October 2017. This is a compulsory but highly regarded course for all surgeons who are in contact with surgical trainees. For more information about attending this or future courses please contact Jonathon at jparkinson@med.usyd.edu.au

Message From Professor Tom Hugh

Professor Hugh

Welcome to the third newsletter of the RNS SERT Institute. Congratulations to Dr Jonathon Parkinson, who was recently appointed into an academic position working at Northern and within the Institute. Jonathon brings great clinical, research and teaching experience; and will be an asset for surgical academia.

Two more academic surgical positions will be advertised in the coming weeks. We encourage all surgeons within the NSLHD to consider applying for these positions.

Shelly Dhaliwal, Maria Albania and I have been visiting surgical departments to provide an update on the activities of the RNS SERT Institute and the DASO unit. We have presented to nine surgical departments so far with several more to go. The main focus of our visit has been to make everyone aware that the Institute is now in consultation phase, where we need input and insights from surgeons to help develop our work-plan. In conjunction with the Division of Surgery, the DASO unit has created some simple application criteria for all departments and is now offering funds for data management support. 


I would like to remind all surgeons that the RNS SERT Institute is a joint venture and we need your involvement to optimise the resources available to us and to strengthen the presence of surgical academia on the campus.

Director of Surgical Skills Training Update

by Dr Anubhav Mittal

The Sydney Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre (SCSSC) located on level 6 of the Kolling Building routinely runs skills courses for the University of Sydney, industry, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, GSA and the ANZHPBA and ANSGOSA. These courses range from the basic skills courses that lay the foundation for future surgical skills learning to more advanced courses aimed at experienced surgeons. In addition, the centre also runs several ‘homegrown’ surgical skills courses that teach laparoscopic skills, bowel anastomosis and vascular anastomosis. The faculty for these courses is largely derived from surgeons at RNSH, and we are grateful for their ongoing help and support.

For example, the basic laparoscopy course (pictured below) teaches the participants both the theory and practice of safe laparoscopic procedures. Models are used to teach the principles behind appendectomy and cholecystectomy.

We are fortunate to have such a “state of the art” facility run by full-time staff on our campus. The RACS ASSET courses in NSW are all run through the SCSSC. We encourage you to contact either Jenny Ludeman (Jennifer Ludeman jennifer.ludeman@sydney.edu.au) or Anubhav Mittal (anubhav.mittal@sydney.edu.au) if you are interested in running or hosting a skills course related to your sub-speciality.