The BAUS Section of Trainees (BSoT) opened applications for two senior UK urology trainees to be sponsored to attend the annual Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ) Trainee Week, in Melbourne. The week is held in November each year for Australian and New Zealand trainees.
As a trainee who started in 2020, during COVID-19, the opportunity screamed out to me. An in-person meeting? Travel? The chance to spend spring in Australia as winter set in back in the UK? Where do I sign up?! A couple of weeks later, the good news was confirmed, and I was heading down under with my fellow trainee Nick Simson.
Day one kicked off with a practice written examination in the morning and a viva in the afternoon. A harsh way to start things off before you’ve learnt anything? Maybe, but the mock assessments were used as a way for the faculty to see where the trainees were at with regards to their exam preparation and would advise them accordingly. The first- and second-year trainees observed the vivas whilst the third and fourth years were assessed. I was (thankfully) observing and it was a fantastic chance to see the level expected for my upcoming FRCS exam.
We were honoured to be invited to the event, hosted by USANZ.
The organisation was impressive, with every detail thought of.
Sessions covered human factors as well as scientific exam content; this one being a particular highlight!
The remainder of the week consisted of state-of-the-art lectures from eminent consultants and professors in their field, with a different theme to each session. All topics were covered, from andrology to oncology, functional to radiology and even human factors. The sessions were meticulously well-prepared, and designed to give you the information you needed not only to pass your exam, but for clinical practice. There was interactivity throughout, with trainees also delivering micro-teaching between the faculty lectures.
Managed to squeeze in a trip to see England vs. Australia
in a one-day international at the MCG!
The beautiful Melbourne skyline in the sun – far better than a British winter!
The Great Ocean Road.
The international delegates representing BAUS, EAU, UAA and CUA
with the Conference Convenor, Dr Kathryn McLeod.
(Right) Myself and fellow BSoT Trainee representative, Nick Simson, with Dr Kathyrn McLeod
(Conference Convenor) and USANZ Trainee representative Dane Cole-Clark.
After each hard-working day, I cannot emphasise how wonderful the evenings were. They were a real opportunity to discuss different aspects of training with our peers, to decompress on the difficult parts, laugh at the calamities, compare our experiences and just a chance to unwind. Clear parallels could be seen, but I identified some differences that I am keen to highlight on my return to the UK. Ultimately, the week was a resounding success. I came back having made new friends, sourced fellowship opportunities, gained new knowledge and motivation to smash the FRCS. My advice to anyone considering this opportunity is to just go for it and apply this year!