Westmead doc scores Aussie-first Stanford qualification

Emergency physician Dr Kavita Varshney is leading the way in clinical education.

A Westmead Hospital emergency doctor is the first Australian to roll out an exclusive training program from US education powerhouse Stanford University. 

Dr Kavita Varshney is the first doctor in the country to be accredited to run the Stanford Program for Clinical Educators, a qualification only offered to 12 people each year around the world.

Stanford is one of the world’s leading teaching and research institutions.

The prestigious schooling is perfectly suited to Kavita’s role as the network director of training for emergency medicine. She runs a two-day program for fellow clinicians who teach other staff, covering topics such as teaching styles and goals.

Dr Kavita Varshney and her fellow class of Stanford-accredited clinical educators. Only six clinicians are accepted for the program each semester.

The aim of the training is to better equip experienced clinicians to transfer their wealth of knowledge to other staff members.

“The joy is watching people develop an understanding about themselves as teachers and their preferred methods of teaching, and also watching them experiment with other styles,” Kavita said.

“And of course the patients benefit from having motivated and curious staff who are always wanting to improve their knowledge and skillsets.”

The Stanford connection began in 2016 when Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) clinical education manager Tanya Jolly organised for the college to run an intensive program for clinical educators in Australia.

That highly-regarded training led to the development of a collaborative special interest group, featuring clinicians from the intensive care unit, emergency department and anaesthetics.

Clinical education manager Tanya Jolly and Kavita (rear) with a multidisciplinary group of clinicians committed to passing on their expertise.

The multidisciplinary group identifies and studies complex cases from across the district in order to improve clinical expertise and patient outcomes.

Thanks to Kavita’s input, they are now also thinking more deeply about how best to share their knowledge with colleagues.

“The course is open to all clinicians who teach, whether they’re medical, nursing or allied health, and all levels of educators from senior staff to junior staff who may teach students,” she said.

“I think it would be wonderful if all clinicians could do this course and have increased confidence in their ability to transfer their extraordinary knowledge and experience to other staff members.”