Dr Christine Ahern (right) with Dr Helen Smetana.
Dr Christine Ahern (right) with Dr Helen Smetana.

2011 gong for top doc

A WOMAN well known across the Coffs Coast has been named the 2011 Medical Educator of the Year by General Practice Education and Training.

Dr Christine Ahern is the director of training with North Coast GP Training and travels throughout the North Coast visiting practices, training and mentoring junior doctors and registrars.

As director of training, Dr Ahern ensures that registrars have the best possible learning outcomes, that the level of their education is of the very highest standard, and that they have every opportunity for professional development.

Dr Ahern's role not only involves hours of face-to-face clinical instruction, but also a huge commitment to supporting the 120 junior doctors in her care across the North Coast region. As director of training she is also responsible for around 100 GP supervisors and medical educators.

Professor Simon Willcock, the chairman of GPET presented Dr Ahern with her award and highlighted her exceptional and unfailing level of dedication and support to her students and fellow educators as some of the reasons she had been recognised as Medical Educator of the Year.

"Dr Ahern is dedicated to women's health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health training and has seen these important topics weaved into general education streams," Prof Willcock said.

"She makes sure that overseas- trained doctors feel welcomed and supported in their training. She cares about all the medical educators in her team, inspiring and challenging them to deliver the best possible education to registrars.

"While all these qualities make Christine a good medical educator, what makes her exceptional is that she also imparts to registrars a sense of purpose, integrity, professional respect, with infectious enthusiasm. Her colleagues speak of her sense of humour, her compassion and her commitment to the people around her".

Dr Ahern has been director of training at North Coast GP Training for seven years and has found the role challenging yet extremely satisfying.

"The most enjoyable part of my work is meeting and engaging with our new registrars, and helping them grow professionally," Dr Ahern said.

"It is also extremely rewarding to work closely with the GP supervisors who provide most of the teaching and support. Learning to be a GP and indeed being a GP, can be very demanding at times, so providing our registrars with good role models and mentors is incredibly important."

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