Clinical Consultation Skills Three Day Education Retreat for Oncology Clinicians

RACV Torquay

9-11 October 2017, RACV Torquay Resort, 1 Great Ocean Road, Torquay

Cancer Council Victoria and the Centre for Organisational Change in Person-Centred Healthcare (OCPH) at Deakin University partnered to deliver the inaugural Clinical Consultation Skills Three Day Education Retreat for Oncology Clinicians.

Run over three days, this immersive experiential learning event focused on enhancing core skills and mentoring capabilities in communication for clinical scenarios, including delivering bad news, mismatched expectations, determining goals of care and discussing end-of-life care.


Clinical Consultation Skills Retreat


Nineteen clinicians participated in the event, representing a range of professional specialties including palliative medicine, geriatrics, anaesthetics, emergency, ICU physicians and all areas of oncology.

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive: 

  • "Our department lies at the hub of the health system and as such, serves up the full spectrum of communication challenges. The opportunity to practise, build communication skills and immerse myself in the presence of such a talented group of people has been invaluable. I will leave the course with a toolbox brimming with new skills that I can apply immediately to my practice."


  • "I found the course incredibly helpful to improve my communication skills. The facilitator was truly skilled at identifying how we could each improve. The clinical scenarios were true to life, and very clinically relevant."


  • "Great learning experience with skilful facilitators and actors. Would definitely recommend for any health care clinician. Very useful to not only communicate more effectively but to help others communicate better."


For more information about this event and other training opportunities, please contact Cancer Council Victoria's Education and Training Team on 03 9514 6326 or  




Day One

Course Introduction
Guest Plenary

Experiential Learning
Theme: Responding to Emotional Cues

Welcome reception networking event

Day Two

Experiential Learning
Theme: Delivering Bad News

Experiential Learning
Theme: Advanced Care Planning/Goals of Care

Special Event - "Death Over Dinner" hosted by Rebecca Bartel, Deakin University

Day Three

Experiential Learning
Theme: Mismatched Expectations

Application to practice
Goal setting and consolidation
Closing reflections  


Peter Martin, MB BCh BAO, MMed, FAChPM

Professor of Clinical Communication & End-of-Life Care, Deakin University School of Medicine.

Director, Centre for Organisational Change in Person-Centred Healthcare, Deakin University, Faculty of Health.

Palliative Medicine Physician & Regional Director of Palliative Care for Barwon Health.

Peter has been a clinician for 30 years. After doing a variety of medical rotations as a junior doctor he came to Australia hoping to train as a cardiologist. A Fellowship in Palliative Medicine & Progressive Neurology changed his career direction. He trained at a large University Hospital in south-east Melbourne (Monash Medical Centre) in a Professorial palliative care unit mainstreamed in a large tertiary hospital with a big cancer service. He returned to work in an NHS Cancer Unit in the UK before returning to direct one of the largest inpatient palliative care units in Australia at St. Vincent's Health in Melbourne. In 2006 he moved to Geelong to direct a large integrated palliative care program. He has led a dedicated cancer cachexia service since 2004; one of only a few worldwide.

As a contrast Peter spent a year as a Monash Institute of Public Health scholar in the Department of Medical Informatics following up on his thesis on clinical database design.

He has taught communication skills with Cambridge, Monash, Melbourne and Deakin medical schools. He has taught at numerous postgraduate courses with a variety of health professional disciplines nationally over the last 15+ years.

More recently Peter has become the Australian National Representative for the International Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH) and chairs the policy / practice sub-group (pEACH) of this group.

@petermartinsept (Twitter handle)

@EACH_Aus (Australian EACH)

Meg Chiswell

Head of Cancer Information and Support Service, Cancer Council Victoria

Meg is Head of the Cancer Information and Support Service at Cancer Council Victoria.  Meg originally worked as a Radiation Therapist and educator at RMIT University in Melbourne before moving into strategic oversight of programs including 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support, Cancer Education and Peer Support Programs, and the Victorian Cancer Clinicians Communication Program.

Meg has been instrumental in building communication skills programs for health professionals and non-clinical staff working with cancer patients in Victoria. Last year, the Victorian Cancer Clinicians Communication Program delivered 100 experiential communication skills programs to over 800 health professionals. 

Meg is a member of the European Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH) and is the Australian representative on the teaching subcommittee (tEACH) for this group. In 2016, Meg convened the inaugural Teaching Communication in Healthcare Conference and Education Program in partnership with EACH and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, bringing together more than 120 local and international delegates.  Following the success of these events, Meg has worked closely with Peter Martin to establish and lead the Australian tEACH network for communication skills educators in healthcare.

Dr Derek Eng

Palliative Medicine Physician, Royal Perth Hospital
Head of Palliative Care Services, St John of God Subiaco Hospital

Dr Derek Eng is a Palliative Medicine Physician at Royal Perth Hospital and Head of Palliative Care Services at St John of God Subiaco Hospital. Dr Eng has extensive experience in training educators, facilitators and health professionals in clinical communication. In 2015, Dr Eng was appointed Lead Clinician (Communication Skills Education) for the Department of Health (WA) and has been a member of the Communication Skills Workshop team for Palliative Medicine Trainees (FAChPM) since 2007. Dr Eng's involvement in education also extends to his current appointment as a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia and Notre Dame University Fremantle. 

Professor Jennifer Philip

VCCC Professor of Palliative Medicine, University of Melbourne, St Vincent's Hospital and Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Jennifer has recently been appointed Professor of Palliative Medicine, following a career in palliative care research and clinical practice of more than 20 years. Her clinical work largely in consultative practice has frequently involved caring for patients who are navigating new phases of their cancer illness and care - from curative to palliative treatments, from cancer treatment to focus on symptom treatment, and from stability to end of life care. Part of her research agenda examines the ways we best care for patients and their families at these times.

Parallel and interfacing with this research and clinical work, Jennifer has been involved in enhancing health care professionals' communication skills. She has extensive experience in communication training, is a member of the Communication Skills Workshop team for Palliative Medicine Trainees (FAChPM) and has been involved in training for Victorian Doctors (Victorian Doctors Communication Program) and medical oncology trainees for a number of years.



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