Working at Taranaki Base Hospital Emergency Department

Taranaki Base Hospital (TBH) is the primary hospital serving the city of New Plymouth and the greater Taranaki region of New Zealand. The population of Taranaki is approximately 120,000 with about 50% living in New Plymouth.

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In 2019 the Emergency Department (ED) at TBH had 33,712 presentations with 6,511 pediatric cases. It has two resuscitation bays, 15 acute beds, two paediatric acute beds, two subacute beds and two chairs for ambulatory patients, as well as a four-bed ED observation unit. Construction of a new and larger ED began in 2020. The local consulting services available include general medicine, general surgery, vascular surgery, orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, OMFS, urology, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, anesthesiology, and radiology.

The majority of the consultants at TBH ED are fellows of The Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (FACEMs). This easily meets the requirements for FACEM supervision. Consultant and RMO shifts are 10 hours, with the consultant shifts having a two hour overlap to facilitate the Workplace Based Assessment (WBA) process. The department is unique in that there is currently an ED consultant present in the department 24-hours a day.

24-month ACEM accreditation

The Emergency Department at Taranaki Base Hospital (TBH) is proud to announce we are accredited for 24 months of emergency medicine (EM) specialist training by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM). TBH was accredited for six months of FACEM training in 2015, 12 months in 2018 and 24 months in 2022. ACEM has designated TBH as a rural-regional hospital that meets the standards for Paediatric Logbook (PLB) status.

Structured teaching program

The Thursday structured teaching program is protected and divided into two sessions. The first 1.5 hours is the general departmental teaching which includes all RMOs and trainees. This is a topic-based program that includes ultrasound training, simulations, journal club, and quarterly morbidity and mortality (M&M) meetings. All trainees participate in presenting educational topics during these meetings. The next 2.5 hours is FACEM trainee specific, and includes Primary and Fellowship examination preparation, as well as Viva and OSCE simulation.

The FACEM training is tailored to the individual needs of each trainee currently rotating through the department. We are able to identify and focus on the areas needing development to help foster a well-prepared trainee. We can accommodate trainees at all levels of progress with a multifaceted approach to examination preparation. While at Taranaki Base Hospital (TBH), several of our advanced trainees have successfully passed their Fellowship examinations, and OSCEs.

“I completed the last years of my training at TBH. One of the key advantages of working at TBH is access to a huge range and number of high acuity and challenging cases. There is a great ratio of FACEMs to RMOs so that there is time for bedside teaching and supervision of these more complex cases. The SMOs are all very approachable and the nursing staff very supportive. I have broadened by training here with a year in ICU/anaesthetics and six months in paediatrics, both of which were invaluable and fantastic departments to work in. The Fellowship exam training program is run by dedicated FACEMs with protected teaching time that helped me get though my FACEM exams. If you are looking for a supportive working environment with access to great cases and opportunity to further experience in other specialties I would strongly recommend working at Taranaki Base ED!”
Tim Petterson, FACEM training graduate

Our trainees also report that our ED has a strong culture of bedside teaching with ample opportunities for procedures. They have excellent exposure to diverse case-mix that sees multi-trauma, high acuity paediatric cases, and complex geriatric presentations. The trainees value the approachability of the consultant group and the supportive environment. There is the possibility for access to non-ED terms, and our trainees have been able to obtain attachments with anaesthetics/ICU, and paediatrics.

"The [ACEM] inspection team was impressed by the positive atmosphere evident and commends the leadership and the consultant group for fostering such a nurturing environment conducive to learning. The proactive and strong engagement from the consultant group makes the ED a very desirable place to work and is evidenced by the contentment expressed by those interviewed."

Ultrasound training

Point-of-care-ultrasound (POCUS) is an integrated part of our daily practice and assessments. All of our ED’s RMOs are taught the basics of POCUS assessment including pulmonary, basic cardiac, EFAST, gallbladder, aorta, early pregnancy, IV-line placement, and ultrasound-guided nerve blocks. The Director of ED Ultrasound leads a regular group image-review sessions for the purpose training and quality control. Your instructors have are highly experienced in POCUS and understand how to efficiently teach you ultrasound techniques.

As you gain confidence, you will learn other assessment tools, such as DVT, ocular, testicular, renal, MSK ultrasound, small-bowel obstruction. paediatric surgical emergencies, fracture evaluation, central-line placement, and advanced cardiac ultrasound. We will help you gain competence and confidence.

Medical simulation

Medical simulation is an integral part of our training program and it is used to facilitate optimal interprofessional teamwork and communication. Dr Chris White has extensive training and experience in medical simulation, and oversees the ED in-situ simulation. These simulations provide a realistic environment to practice resuscitation skills and prepare for your OSCES. High-stakes procedures that are rarely encountered are practiced in this safe setting. Interdepartmental trauma simulations are held with the Department of Surgery and the Auckland-Based NetworkZ program, and simulations with the Department of Paediatrics are conducted regularly.

Lauren Miller, ED Nurse Educator.

Trainee mentoring programme

Taranaki ED provides the opportunity for voluntarily ACEM trainee mentoring. The programme will ensure confidentiality and mentoring will be separated from the supervision and performance management of the trainee. The programme will strive to be culturally safe and accessible to all trainees. It will support the diversity of our trainees equally and accommodate differences of gender, ethnicity, religion, cultural background, and sexual orientation. The programme will utilize ACEM resources to assist in providing an effective programme.

Clinical research

The Taranaki ED is actively engaged in clinical research. From 2022 forward it is our intention that there will always be ongoing studies. ACEM trainees who are interested in research are encouraged to take part in these projects.

Manaaki Mana

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), Te Whatu Ora Taranaki, and the Ministry of Health, have identified eliminating health inequities and providing culturally safe care for Māori as a key national health priority.

Taranaki Base ED has committed to implementing ACEM's Manaaki Mana Strategy to eliminate Māori health inequity by providing excellent, culturally safe care for Māori, in an environment where Māori patients, whānau and staff feel valued. Te Rōpū o Taranaki Manaaki Mana has been established to support this strategy and is lead by Piki Mathieson (Pou Mātanga Manaaki Mana CNS), Tim Petterson (FACEM) and Bridget Mooney (FACEM).  

With support from Te Rōpū o Taranaki Manaaki Mana and Te Pa Harakeke (Māori Health Unit) we hope to see all clinical and non-clinical staff in Taranaki ED engage with this strategy to provide equitable health care for Māori in Taranaki.

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei: Seek the treasure that you value most dearly, if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.

Humanity Conference

In February 2021 a dynamic group of doctors, nurses, and Allied Health professionals gathers in New Plymouth for the inaugural Humanity: Taranaki Emergency Medicine Conference. Notable speakers included Drs John Bonning and Ashley Bloomfield. Attendees enjoyed a variety of topics as well as recreational and wellness activates. 

ACEM Aotearoa NZ Annual Conference 2024

On 6-8 March 2024, Taranaki hosted the ACEM Aotearoa NZ Annual Conference. Taranaki's DEMT, Kelly Austin was the recipient of the 2023 ACEM Peter Freeman Distinguished Service Award for significant high-level service and commitment to the principals of the College. 

From left: Doctors Peter Freeman, Kelly Austin, John Bonning (past ACEM president).

Our consultant staff

Head of Department

Thomas Stevenson, FACEM
Head of Department

University of Otago, NZ
Wellington Hospital EM

Point of Care Ultrasound, CCPU from ASUM
Medical Education
Director of ED Point of Care Ultrasound


Kelly Austin, FACEM

University of Otago Medical School
Gold Coast Hospital, EM, QLD
Wider Auckland Hospitals, EM

APLS Instructor
Local PLS Director
NZMC Pre-Vocational Clinical Supervisor

Susie Flink, FACEM, FACEP

Wayne State University School of Medicine
Detroit Medical Center, EM Residency

Medical Education (Diploma in Clinical Education)
NZMC Per-Vocational Clinical Supervisor
Medical Ethics

Local WBA Coordinator

Jennifer Lim, FACEM

St Louis University of Medicine
Wright State University EM Residency

Medical Student TI Attachment Coordinator
ACEM Australian Stroke Coalition
Local WBA coordinator

ED Clinical Research Director

Devin Faragasso, FACEM, FACEP

University of Virginia School of Medicine
New York Medical College EM Residency, Harlem

NZMC Pre-Vocational Clinical Supervisor
ACEM Fellowship SEQ Working Group
Medical Research

Clinical Director/DEM

Michael Connelly, FACEM, FACEP, MPH

University of Minnesota School of Medicine
MPH, University of Michigan
Emory University EM Residency

International Health
Disaster Medicine
ACEP Deputy Ambassador Malawi and NZ

Local ACEM Mentoring Coordinator

Brad Ellington, FACEM, FACEP

University of Health Sciences, Kansas City
University of Missouri, EM Residency

Wilderness Medicine
International and Resource Limited Medicine
Trauma Care

Brad Ellington video



New York Medical College
Morristown Memorial EM Residency

Clinical Information Technology
ED and Hospital Flow Management
Medical Ambient Technologies

Jennifer Heyes, FACEM, PGCertTravMed

Otago Medical School 
Wellington Hospital EM 
Alice Springs Hospital EM

Member of EMUGS NZ event planning team

Point of Care Ultrasound, CCPU from ASUM
Gender equity 
Supporting pregnant staff and parents in Emergency Medicine 

Kelly Pettit, FACEM, ACEP

University of Washington School of Medicine
Scripps Mercy Hospital, Intern
University of California San Diego - Residency

Prehospital Care
Wilderness and disaster medicine

Henry Smart, FACEM

Newcastle University, UK
James Cook University and Wellington Hospitals - Residency

PG Certificate in Clinical Education

Claire Medley, FACEM

Taranaki Base Hospital

Dirken Christine Krahn, FACEM, FCRAP, RACPOCH

Marburg Medical School, Germany
Paeds: Wen Maerdy, Wales; Middlemore; Starship
ED: Wider Auckland; Gold Coast; Brisbane; Taranaki Base

Paediatric EM
Medical Education
EM Research

Bridget Mooney, FACEM

University of Otago (Dunedin)
Te Whatu Ora Taranaki, Midcentral, Te Whatu Ora Waikato

Clinical Governance
Māori Health Equity

Donald B. McKee, FACEM, FACEP

University of Miami School of Medicine
Medical College of Virginia EM Residency


Yasmin McGrane, FACEM

Medical School: The Otago University: Dunedin School of Medicine 
Primary Training Site: Northern Regional Alliance: Auckland City Hospital, Middlemore Hospital, Waitakere Hospital,  Northshore Hospital and Starship Hospital.

Medical Education, Equality of care, Tropical Medicine and Resource Limited Medicine 

Timothy Petterson, FACEM

University of Otago School of Medicine
Wellington Hospital EM Training

Point of Care Ultrasound
Primary Exam Training
Māori Health Equity

Mark Sagarin, FACEM, FACEP

Harvard University Medical School
Harvard EM Residency

Physician Wellness

Chris White, FACEM

University of Southampton
Wellington Hospital EM Training

Medical Simulation
Medical Education

Heather Webb, FACEM, FACEP

Boston University School of Medicine
University of New Mexico EM Residency

Clinical Research
Airway Management
Quality Assurance

FACEP: Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians
FACEM: Fellow of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
FCRAP: Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatric Physicians

More Information

For more information about our program and available placements, our DEMTs will be happy to talk to you.

Kelly Austin (DEMT):
Susie Flink (DEMT):

See our careers section here >>




Last updated: Monday, April 22, 2024

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