All posts by DrVida

EPIC 9 JULY 2022

A new, revised program of EPIC is scheduled for 9 July – register HERE!

The exam section review panel composed of recent and new examiners will head the program before the Q+A with recently successful candidates revealing what they know now that they wish they knew then…

Presentations will focus on approaching exam preparation and execution strategically. The emphasis for this day will be FORM, not content. This day is for candidates preparing for the next sitting of the final exams as well as for those who have just completed their primary exams…

See you there!

Best wishes for exam success for the 2022.1 cohort… EPIC is on for 2022.2!

Exams are a great stressor for candidates. Sharing the “joy” and being able to meet up with candidates from all over Australia is an opportunity for true fellowship and camaraderie. The Australian Society of Anaesthetists’ national viva tutorials hosted by ASA Education Committee Vice Chair Dr Kaylee Jordan and myself and the upcoming EPIC (Exam Performance Improvement Clinic) day support both those aims.

The ASA Trainee section in Australian Anaesthetist has a regular section for exam tips too.

It’s not just the CONTENT…think about the CONSTRUCT as well – both for written and viva responses
Add value to a simple “LIST” question by using a construct that signals a deeper understanding of the issues
Dr Vida Viliunas ASA Education Officer

Preparing for the final anaesthesia vivas

The final anaesthesia exam candidates are spending today at their written exams. From now on they will be preparing for their viva exams.

Many anaesthesia consultants haven’t given a practice viva exam for a while. Here’s a handy video to refresh your viva skills and help the anaesthetists of the future!

2022: a cautious (or audacious?) 8% wish for a better year!

Be in the 8% who follow-through with their New Year’s resolution…

Got a New Year’s resolution? Harvard Medical School suggests a seven point plan.

Do you want to study more, lose weight (again), get fit, give up a bad habit or develop a good one? Work on a nudge in the right direction regularly and often and not a cataclysmic change for a sustained difference.

These are my 5:

1 Be ambitious – it’s inspirational

2 Chunk it – breaking a big task into small, achievable parts is motivational

3 Commit – use an app, make a public promise, tell a supportive friend

4 Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good

5 Know the loopholes! Habit and happiness researcher Gretchen Rubin lists them on on her website. From the “false choice loophole” (I can’t do this because I am too busy doing that”), to “Tomorrow” (when you will do it) to “This doesn’t count” (I’m on holiday, I’m sick, It’s the weekend) to my favourite “One-coin loophole” which is the essence of successfully changing a habit.

The one-coin loophole turned on it’s head is precisely how to get fit, give up “x”, be more considerate and kind, be less impatient or adhere to a study program. Every little bit counts in the argument of the growing heap:

“If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.”

…any one little thing that we do is a little thing, but the sum of all our actions will change our behaviour. If that’s what you want.

So: think big, act small, be accountable, know the barriers to your success, do it today and start now.

Happy New Year.

16 OCTOBER: world anaesthesia day

16 October is World Anaesthesia Day

World Anaesthesia Day, also known as National Anaesthesia Day or Ether Day, is observed annually on 16 October to commemorate the birth of anaesthesia. On 16 October 1846 at Massachusetts General Hospital, William T.G. Morton administered ether anaesthesia to Edward Gilbert Abbott (1825-1855) (Haridas 2017). Dr John Collins Warren (Hersey Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA) was then able to surgically remove a vascular neck tumour painlessly. This first public demonstration of ether anaesthesia marks a significant event in medical history. This success led to rapid progress in surgical medicine because patients could now undergo surgical treatment without the pain associated with an operation.

‘Ether Day’ is celebrated annually by the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) with special events. This year will mark the 175th anniversary of the event. Around 134 societies representing anaesthesiologists from over 150 countries take part in the celebrations. 

The WFSA uses this day to highlight a global shortage in the anaesthesia workforce, which translates into surgical operation, labour analgesia, and critical care gap (WFSA 2021). There is currently less than one anaesthesia provider per 100,000 population in most countries in Africa and South-East Asia, compared to 15–30 anaesthesiologists per 100,000 in North America and Western Europe (Firth and Evans 2021). Thus, there’s a deep disparity in the number of trained anaesthesia providers worldwide, along with an inability to treat surgical conditions where providers are unavailable. In the light of this ongoing neglect, WFSA celebrates global awareness days like World Anaesthesia Day since they can be a powerful advocacy tool to mobilise political will, educate the public, and showcase the achievements of the global anaesthesia community.



The only secret is to answer the question asked

Some candidates are naturally good at exams. All candidates can be good at exams.

If you have learned the content and have rehearsed your technique, there is only one other thing that you need to remember. The examiner reports for exams repeatedly state that candidates who answered the question asked, scored better than candidates who gave general answers around the topic question.

Focus your energy on responding to the specific question asked by examiners and immerse yourself in the scenario. Remember to focus on “this patient” in the particular scenario described.

Best wishes to you all – I look forward to congratulating you soon!