Australia Paediatric Emergency Medicine Course Review

The Facts

When: 3 day course January and June of each year.

Where: Gold Coast and Brisbane

Cost: $500 for trainees

Focus of course: Core paediatric emergency medicine topics with a focus on those topics considered as key by ACEM.

Format: Predominantly lectures, some small workshops.

Bonus: Each day is preceded by an optional 50 minute trial exam with SAQs and VAQs and each day is ended with a 1 hour feedback session on the trial exam along with your questions marked!

Who is this course suitable for?  2 groups:

1)    Anyone within 12 months of sitting their exam.  Some wish they did it at least 6 months out, some felt it was good to have it 1-2 months out as a refresher.

2)    Anyone about to do their paediatric term e.g. WCH or Lyell McEwin.



Enthusiastic, very approachable and knowledgeable teachers, great teaching environment, highly relevant material with focus on evidence-based medicine.  Large faculty to get a variety of perspectives with a number of topic experts.  Excellent venue, catering and logistics.

The APEM course

We managed to cover the whole ACEM syllabus in 3 days. Each lecture focused on cases and recognition of disease patterns as well as current best practice treatments and emerging treatments e.g. hypertonic saline in bronchiolitis and use of IV valproate and levatiracetam in status epilepticus.  Because the course aimed to cover so much it rarely went into great depth on a particular topic and focussed instead on providing a simplified, practical and safe approach to paeds EM situations.

The predominantly lecture format of delivery combined with long days may make some people struggle to retain concentration- but the frequent cases and questions to the audience helped bring people back.

The exam component of the course

Difficult questions and likely too extensive compared to the actual exam. But covered most of the syllabus. Personal marking - good comments in that they were specific and frequent rather than just a single paragraph at the end.  Marking itself was probably over-harsh and the markers were not College examiners. One-on-one sessions toolkplace for many, but not all, candidates regarding your strong/weak sides. Excellent group run-through at the end of each day of the questions asked including model answers. Good session on the final day about overall approach to answering questions.

Pre-Course Reading

Extensive, but not excessive pre-course reading material including a tricky mandatory open-book MCQ enabled the participants to participate with good background knowledge.

Catering and venue

Robina Hospital (in Jan 2014 will be held at Prince Charles Hospital Brisbane) is about 20 min from the Gold Coast with sparse accommodation within walking distance so you need to include thoughts towards transport (hire car/train).  Lots of choices of accommodation on the coast itself, many of which are very reasonably priced.

Catering from a local cafe was excellent and included breakfast. Generally healthy and fresh. Coffee machine freely available whole course and provided superb coffee.

Cost: Ridiculously cheap for what is provided.  Similar 3 day courses such as EMST and APLS charge between $2000 and $2500.


Some topics were rushed a bit - but it would be difficult to stretch the course any longer taking the exam course into account.

Regarding the legal aspects of such issues as consent and mandatory reporting there was a significant focus on the QLD laws rather than nationally consistent principles which would have been of more benefit to those from interstate.

All lectures were pre-printed in paper form to avoid internet distribution to non-participants. Unfortunately this left us with a few outdated presentations making it harder to follow the presentations.

Specific Comments:

George: “amazing course all around. Sometimes there was no time for enough explanation or questions but that only happened on one or two occasions.”

Peter: “Particularly important for fellowship candidates to attend the course to brush up on their paediatric knowledge. If only there were similar courses for other parts of the syllabus, such as trauma.”

Adrian: “ it was a fantastic course.”

Eleanor: “a great level for pre WCH. Not enough time to go into much depth which was great for me but I don't know how it was for more experienced people. A really good overview though and some really helpful tips”

 Ina: “Enthusiastic and very approachable teachers, great teaching environment, highly relevant material with focus on best evidence medicine.”

 Andrew: this course represents extremely good value on all levels in terms of quality of speakers, venue, catering and exam feedback.


Ina, Eleanor, Adrian, Georgina, Peter, Georges, Andrew P

June 2013

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