Finnan’s Gift funds a new, state-of-the-art teaching device to support the next generation of cardiologists

Up and coming cardiologists at Victoria’s largest paediatric hospital, The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), will be able to hone their imaging skills thanks to new equipment funded by Finnan’s Gift, a charity founded by Alisa and Oliver Camplin-Warner.

The new transesophageal echocardiography simulation technology is a state-of-the-art teaching device. The equipment gives doctors in training the opportunity to practice critical skills in a time-unrestricted and low-pressure environment before applying these skills in theatre.

This year marks the 12th year of Finnan’s Gift, a charity that honours Alisa and Oliver’s son, Finnan, who passed away at just 10 days old from congenital heart disease. Since its inception in 2011, Finnan’s Gift has raised more than $3.5 million for cardiac care at the RCH, funding world class projects and equipment, which have benefitted thousands of sick children and their families.

Speaking of the impact of this year’s Finnan’s Gift campaign, Professor Michael Cheung, Director of Cardiology at the RCH, said: “The addition of this simulation will mean the learning opportunity for our junior doctors and staff is much improved, and will mean they are better prepared to assist in the guidance and assessment of surgical interventions.

“Rather than learning in a high stress, time critical situation like surgery, the system allows the next generation of doctors to develop, refine and apply skills in a realistic clinical situation, prior to surgery.”

Alisa Camplin-Warner AM said: “Selecting this year’s Finnan’s Gift grant focus was very easy, because this initiative is close to my heart as a past Olympic athlete. I know firsthand that excellence comes through deliberate practice and ongoing training, so providing funds for a pinnacle surgical simulation system that will enable the RCH’s upcoming doctors to hone their skills and become masters of their craft was very exciting.

“Becoming the best of the best doesn’t happen overnight it takes dedication, perseverance, focus, and practice using the right equipment in the right environment. We feel elated that the 2023 Finnan’s Gift grant will help the hospital’s younger doctors become the best they can be, so they can provide world’s best care to Australia’s youngest patients.

Alisa and Oliver with Joshua, a cardiac patient at the RCH

“Doctors and surgeons are not robots. In order to excel, innovate and grow they need to reflect, refine, learn and keep training. The RCH team can now do that better with the help of this new simulation technology, giving them a greater chance of performing under pressure in surgery.”

Speaking about the impact of Finnan’s Gift over the past 12 years, Alisa said: “Over the years, Finnan’s Gift has provided 12 different pieces of equipment, supporting different areas of the hospital which all play a part in advancing cardiac care. We are exceptionally proud that through the COVID-19 period, none of our long term, main or regular donors fell away. We have not once fallen short on delivering our annual gift to the RCH and feel both grateful and proud to be a part of the community who are committed to delivering tangible outcomes.

“It fills our hearts with pride that the Finnan’s Gift community has raised more than $3.5 million over the last 12 years, and we extend our sincere thanks to each and every person, foundation and organisation who has given along the way.”

Oliver Camplin-Warner added: “The most incredible thing about Finnan’s Gift is that whenever someone gives a donation, they know exactly what that money goes towards, and can understand the impact they are helping create for patients, families and the doctors and nurses that care for them.

“Finnan’s Gift grants are about raising the bar, unlocking a new frontier, and going above and beyond. We know ‘world’s best’ is what patients and their families hope for when they come to the RCH, and we are honoured to help the hospital and staff keep delivering at their absolute best.“

Speaking of the impact that the new equipment will have on their training, Dr Anne Stewart, Cardiology Fellow at the RCH, said: “The transesophageal echocardiography simulator is a game-changer for our training. It gives us a hands-on way to develop our skills in a low stress environment before we have to apply them in the operating theatre, where important decisions need to be made quickly and confidently. Using the simulator, we can take our time learning and perfecting the skill in a way that hasn’t been possible for previous generations of trainees.”