College of Intensive Care Medicine
of Australia and New Zealand
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Supervisor Profile – Bronwyn Avard
Bronwyn Avard has been a Fellow of the College since 2008. Working in various hospitals and most recently becoming the ICU Director at Canberra Hospital. As a Supervisor with many years’ experience Bronwyn was interviewed to share her experience and insight with other Supervisors.
How many years’ experience do you have as a Supervisor?
6 years. I recently handed over this role to other specialists in my department when I took on the Director position.
What did you find most enjoyable about being a Supervisor?
Guiding junior medical officers through their training and having time for meaningful conversations and support. It was an incredibly rewarding role; especially as you see some of these trainees develop into outstanding specialists.
Did you ever have a Senior Supervisor or Mentor that you ever turned to for support?
Yes there were two previous SOTs in my unit who were always available for guidance and assistance. They were an invaluable part of my development as an SOT.
Do you have any advice or top tips for new Supervisors?
My first tip is a reflection of the above – getting advice from someone else who has done the role. For new SOTs now, I strongly recommend connecting not only with ex-SOTs from your own hospital but also with the SOT network developing as part of the College SOT workshops.
And my second big one is time management. I have always set aside an hour per trainee a couple of times a term. I would schedule in 15 minutes prior to their arrival in my office for me to review any items I needed to, then spend about thirty minutes face-to-face, and leave 15 minutes for documentation at the end. I documented every meeting under the following headings:
Future goals/training plans
Particular skills to acquire
Attendance at courses and/or conferences
Other goalsI would then send a summary to the trainee after the meeting outlining these things and then use this summary as a basis for our next meeting.
How did you manage your Supervisor workload with your clinical duties?
It isn’t easy. Anyone who knows me is aware I am an obsessive planner, so really it was just around blocking out times in my diary during non-clinical time and getting JMOs in my diary as soon as possible.
How do you approach the balance of being a trainee advocate whilst needing to direct them?
I have always seen these as complimentary functions – directing them and supporting them in their training will need you to function as an advocate on their behalf. If you are giving more directed or negative feedback, this is ultimately about helping them see where they need to improve which is advocating for their future career path and development.