Today is a difficult day for many – the KFP results.

“Phew, I just got through.”  

“I can’t believe I got through.”

“Lucky I got through, I thought I’d failed.

“I didn’t think I’d pass, and I didn’t.”

“I just can’t keep doing this to myself.”

“What else can I do?”

I remember getting the letter in the mail and seeing my RACGP number in the Australian (yes that was Dinosaur days) when I passed, and I can’t imagine how some of you are feeling today.  However, as a Medical Educator, I always seek to find a reason and an explanation for why things happen.   Some recent events have inspired me to write this post – My 16 year old trying to attain her Learner’s Permit, and a colleague who mentioned that she is finally finding the ‘vehicle to OSCE’.

Let’s have a look at this graph from the SA Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.    It outlines the number of significant crashes of licence holders.


Let’s look at our ‘License to Fellowship:

  • Learners License:
    • Passing AMC Written and Clinical exams, AGPT Selection, PEP applications.
    • Learner’s licenses infer that we should have someone guiding us, showing us the way, the short-cuts, the perils, and is looking out for our mistakes and errors so that they can mitigate them.
    • Learners need to know where their ‘trouble lights’ are and how and when to use them.
  • Provisional License:
    • Passing AKT and KFP assessments.
    • We still need supervision and mentorship but if the road is rocky or too steep, we should have someone experienced to ask for help.
    • A co-driver is missing in many GPs preparation for exams.
  • Open License:
    • Passing OSCE.
    • Yes, we are free!  But what if we’ve had a traffic infringement along the way, or the car is un-roadworthy?   We still mightn’t get our licence.

Tinas-Torana-1000-PC-Jigsaw-PuzzleBut it’s not that straightforward.  Back in the ‘old days’, a young fella would turn up at the police station in his ‘beefed up’ Torana.   The ‘Copper’ (who had known the fella from birth and seen him driving since the age of 8), would roadworthy the car, and award a license without even a Direct Observation of Procedural Skills.


But, despite his confidence on the country roads, and skills in evading an itinerant kangaroo, would you ride with the Torana driver on the one way streets of Melbourne or navigating the freeways on entering the Sydney CBD?  Knowledge is contextual.  Off-road competence and experience isn’t everything where the road rules are stringent and rigid.  And what about working out those hook-turns?   If I was travelling a precarious road, I would prefer to be in the company of a driver who had learned the appropriate driving skills from the outset.

The key to an Open-license is knowing the ground rules and foundations to driving in the first place.  You need to be physically able to drive the car, have a roadworthy vehicle, have enough fuel in the tank, know where you are going, and have planned some rest stops along the way.  You can’t just drive – think about where to indicate, where the hazards are, what you will need to take with you on the trip, including who needs to be in the car with you.   Sometimes jumping out of the car, and into a bus, or a train, or even onto a bike for a while is a good option to break the journey.  Most importantly, if you’re not sure where you are headed, postpone your trip until your destination is sorted.



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