NEJM Knowledge+ is not just in use in the United States; physicians and PAs all over the world benefit from using our adaptive learning platform for maintenance of certification and board review. Although we developed NEJM Knowledge+ content to align with U.S.-based medical board blueprints, learners in Australia, Canada, and many other countries will find that the patient vignettes, questions, feedback, and citations compare well to the knowledge they need to know for their own board exams.
In this post, we will talk specifically about how NEJM Knowledge+ can assist with board review and registration for Australian physicians.
The Australian Certification Process: Internship
The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) runs the Australian board exam and the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programs, referred to as Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities in the U.S. Both the MBA board exam and CPD activities are required by national law. The board exam is a timed exam consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions that must be completed in 3.5 hours
For initial certification, a candidate applies to the MBA for general registration as a practicing physician upon completion of medical school and one year as an intern. The intern year (also known as postgraduate year 1 or PGY1) is usually done in a hospital, with mandatory rotations in medicine, surgery, and emergency medicine. Candidates who have successfully completed their intern year are awarded general registration to practice medicine by the MBA and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
The Australian Certification Process: Residency
Interns must then go on to a residency program that can last anywhere between one and six years, depending on their intended specialty. Residents are licensed to engage in independent medical practice. When they become residents, they typically choose one of three paths:
- Practice as a Resident Medical Officer (RMO) or Hospital Medical Officer (HMO) in a hospital for 2 to 3 years, then go forward with specialist training.
- Continue practicing as an RMO/HMO for a longer period, then decide on a specialty field.
- Practice medicine as a Career Medical Officer (CMO) for their entire career.
Once residency is complete, physicians practice in their field and/or path of choice and renew their registration with the Medical Board of Australia annually.
The Australian Recertification Process: CPD
The Medical Board of Australia requires all registered medical practitioners to participate in regular CPD activities in order to maintain their certification. Each year, medical practitioners renew the registration of their medical license and attest that they have completed the CPD hours required for their area of medicine (general or specialty, depending on the candidate).
Specialists must adhere to the requirements outlined by their college of specialty, but generalists can maintain registration by completing at least 50 hours of CPD per year. CPD registration standards can be found on the Medical Board of Australia website. The purpose of CPD registration standards are:
- To provide efficient, effective, evidence-based learning with the goal of maintaining and enhancing the performance of medical practitioners throughout Australia.
- To ensure that continuing professional development (CPD) available is both current and relevant to each physician’s area of practice.
- To use assessment to identify doctors who are performing poorly or are at risk for poor performance, so that remediation and support may be offered where appropriate.
CPD activities fall under three headings:
- Undertaking educational activities, which includes lectures, conferences, reading, research, supervision, workshops, grand rounds, and online learning.
- Reviewing performance, which includes peer review of performance and/or medical records, peer discussions of case studies, critical incidents, and events concerning safety and quality of care, and feedback from multiple sources including peers, colleagues and coworkers, patients, and other health care practitioners.
- Measuring outcomes, which includes clinical audit, review of medical records, review of mortality and morbidity, clinical indicators, data assessment that compares individual data with local, institutional, regional, and national (de-identified) data sets.
Comparing NEJM Knowledge+ Content with the MBA Exam Blueprint
The content of the MBA exam is meant to serve generalists, with questions pertaining to common science, risk analysis, understanding of current guidelines, clinical applications, differential diagnoses, and therapeutics.
This exam blueprint, as well as a practice exam with sample questions, is available through the Australian Medical Council, whose mission is “to ensure that standards of education, training and assessment of the medical profession promote and protect the health of the Australian community.” Certainly the model of an exam coupled with ongoing professional development is designed to reward physicians who value lifelong learning and seek to continuously improve the standard of care for their patients.
NEJM Knowledge+ provides high quality content related to many of the topics covered on the MBA exam. The case-based multiple-choice questions in NEJM Knowledge+ are consistent with the format of the MBA exam and recognized CPD/CME online learning activities. These factors make NEJM Knowledge+ an effective study and learning tool for Australian users.
How NEJM Knowledge+ Can Help with the MBA Exam and CPD
The NEJM Knowledge+ offers an online adaptive learning platform that can help candidates not only prepare for the Medical Board of Australia exam, but also participate in Continuing Professional Development to earn CPD hours. Given the MBA exam’s breadth, the NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine Board Review program would likely be a good fit for MBA exam study, but our other products, including Internal Medicine Board Review and Pediatrics Board Review, offer other opportunities for CPD.
We advise candidates, in any country, to include several tools and resources in their exam study plans and CPD learning programs to ensure a comprehensive knowledge base that covers all the possibilities. After all, even exam blueprints don’t tell you exactly what’s on the exam. Australian candidates can use NEJM Knowledge+ to prepare for initial registration and medical licensing as well as ongoing annual renewal of registration, and they can be confident that they are getting what they need for successful certification and maintenance of certification.