Tox Course

Next Course – starting January 2024

Applications for the 2024 course will open on Friday 1 September.

Application deadline is Monday 18 September at 11.00pm AEST.

A link to apply will be availabe on this page from the 1 September.


Please read all the information below before you begin your application, so you fully understand what is involved.

When you are ready to apply:

  1. Have your CV ready to upload in PDF format (limit to 4 pages)
  2. Consider your career goals.
  3. Ensure you have a Clinical Toxicologist who is willing to support your application.
  4. Click on the link at the bottom of the screen (from the 1 Sept) to set up an account and begin your application.


Course Cost

The cost of the course is A$4000 per year (medical) or A$3000 per year (non-medical) including complimentary TAPNA membership for each year you are enrolled.

If your application for the course is successful, fees must be paid within 1 month of acceptance, or your position may be offered to another person.  If accepted, you will be asked to complete a registration form and provide payment at that time.

Who can Apply?

The course is open to both medical and SPI applicants.

Background to the Course

The content within this course is considered to provide the knowledge component of training in clinical toxicology within Australasia. It has been presented in several different formats over the last decade. TAPNA is glad to be able to present the course again locally, which has enabled the course to enrol a multidisciplinary student group and to extend the course to those who are actively working in clinical toxicology within their hospitals.

Course Objectives

By the completion of the course, candidates will be able to:

  • Explain toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic mechanisms and how they influence the course and management of poisoning / envenoming
  • Explain components of risk assessment, formulate individual risk assessments and use the risk assessment to develop patient management plans
  • Prescribe and implement relevant specific interventions including principles of resuscitation, decontamination, enhanced elimination and antidotes
  • Critically appraise the toxicology and toxinology literature to develop evidence-based practice, including discussion of controversies in care
  • Discuss relevant psychosocial and regulatory issues as they relate to toxicology / toxinology

The course fulfills the background theoretical knowledge for further clinical components of training required for employment in clinical toxicology in Australasia.

Course Structure

The Course is delivered by online, case-based discussion forums with weekly lesson objectives. It is expected that you should spend around 10 hours per week in reading and discussion.

Each lesson, its objectives and relevant references will be available from the weekend before the lesson starts. A clinical scenario(s) will be presented along with relevant discussion questions to illustrate the weekly objectives. The education model is based around high level interaction with students learning from discussion with each other. Candidates are drawn from a range of experience and disciplines, but most are senior within their fields so please take the time to learn from each other through discussion and experience sharing.

Discussion Groups

Students will be split into groups of 10-12 candidates  Each week students will be nominated to start / lead a discussion question for the group, and another to summarise the main learning points at the end of the week. The groups are set for each module and may change during the course. Please introduce yourself and your clinical role at the start of the module so you can get to know each other.

If you are the leader, do not answer all the questions but ensure you are able to access and start the first discussion early in the week (ie Monday). Keep the lesson objectives in mind as you answer the questions.

Group members should comment and add to the discussion by posting additional discussion points, further questions or answers. Posts should contribute to the discussion with new information or learning points, rather than repeating previously posted responses. Areas that add value include critical appraisal of the literature, highlighting a seminal article, reorienting discussion that had strayed from the original clinical scenario and objectives, answering a clinical or mechanistic dilemma (e.g. pathophysiology, or validity of extrapolating from known mechanism of another, better described toxic substance), a clinical pearl or introduction of content leading to relevant or related discussion or questions. Making an initial quality post in the case that the nominated leader is slow to initiate discussion can also be considered valuable. Feel free to ask questions and please post professionally and respectfully – there will be differing points of view and areas of controversy for discussion. Please notify the course coordinator immediately if you find a post inappropriate for any reason.

The student allocated to summarise should post a final summary of the take-home learning points at the end of the week, based on the lesson objectives, video lecture and discussion. Note: These become a useful exam study resource, so it is worth being thorough.

Role of the Tutors

Each lesson will have 2 tutors assigned to supervise the week’s discussion. Tutors are clinical toxicologists working within Australasia, who have a wealth of clinical and research experience on their topic, so please use them wisely – the more you engage them, the more value the tutors can provide. If things are on track, they may predominantly observe the discussion and will redirect it if required. They may also post additional questions or learning points. The tutors will deliver a Friday topic discussion through Zoom, which will be available to engage in live to ask any questions and will be uploaded to the website to view later.


Assessment will be both continuous and summative. To pass the year, candidates must have achieved both 50% overall on their continuous assessments, as well as 50% on the examination. A supplementary exam may be held as required.

Continuous assessment: Weekly discussion

Candidates are expected to contribute quality posts to at least 50% of the lesson discussions over the year. Note that it is OK to ask questions and you do not need to be “correct” with your posts for them to be counted towards your assessment score – the priority is “attendance” and meaningful contribution to discussion.

Continuous assessment: Module assignments

Each module will have both a mid-module and end-module assignment. The assignment topic will be available for 2 weeks and will be due on a Friday afternoon. Assignments should be uploaded to the website in PDF format. Extension may be available in special circumstances by contacting either Dr Kath Isoardi or Dr Kerry Hoggett at least 24 hours before the submission date if you need an extension for your module assignments.

  • A 1-week extension will be available if requested at least 24 hours before the deadline.
  • Longer extension will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
  • Late submission without extension will attract a penalty of 20% per week or part thereof.

Assignments are independently marked against a standard by 2 tutors with the marks agreed within 15% – the final percentage mark awarded is then an average of the 2 results. Feedback will be provided to students to highlight strengths and enable improvement.

Pay attention to the assignment format and section marks provided with each assignment. Clinical problem-based assignments should be written in point format with clear and concise information as if you are conveying management advice to a colleague. Pay attention to stated word limits, give advice relevant to the presented scenario and reference salient papers. Common errors include not tailoring advice to the presented case, going over the word limit or referencing handbooks rather than salient papers.

Summative assessment: Final exam Year 1

A final 1-hour MCQ exam will be held at the end of Year 1 with details to be communicated.

Second year case book assessment

For those progressing to the second year, the final course assessment involves a written case book and case-based discussion. The case book will include 8 case reports in toxicology and toxinology for patients you have managed personally, including case reflection, literature review and learning points. Each case should be limited to 1500-2000 words and reflect the structure of a clinical case report for publication.

A published, peer-reviewed case report with the candidate as first author, published in a relevant journal during the during the course timeframe will count as 2 case reports (for example, six case discussions and 1 publication, four case discussions and 2 publications). Case reports published as Letters to the Editor or posters at a conference will count towards 1 case only and must have an additional case reflection discussing your learning points. Given the lag time for publication, you are advised to consider your case book early and include interesting cases you encounter during this year. A copy of the published case report must be attached in the casebook submission. Retrospective chart reviews, epidemiological studies or case series DO NOT meet the criteria.


While you may work together to develop an approach to your assignment, it is expected that the final submission represents your own work. All submissions will be assessed by Copyleaks plagiarism software prior to marking. The TAPNA course will use the definition and examples of plagiarism below (see Box 1).

Plagiarism can be avoided by ensuring you have adequate time to complete your assignment and referencing meticulously, including the use of intext acknowledgement and quotation marks. References should be submitted in Vancouver format.

Whilst we acknowledge that most plagiarism is unintentional (ie the result of poor referencing technique) you will be asked to resubmit your assignment if there is suspicion of plagiarism. Repeated occurrences of plagiarism may result in further actions as per the education committee, which may include

  • Reduction of the assignment mark
  • Requirement for additional assignments / work to meet hurdle requirements
  • Ineligibility to sit the final examination

Modified from: University of Queensland, Available at [accessed 7/7/2023]

The use of AI programmes such as ChatGPT is allowed provided you only use it edit it your own work. Use of such tools must be acknowledged at the end of the paper, including a declaration that the work submitted is your own.

Course Feedback

There will be opportunity for course evaluation at the end of each week to give feedback on the course material, tutor feedback and to help us improve the format for future. A final course evaluation will be requested at the end of each year.

Course Timetable – Yr1

Start Module 1: Core principles
1. BZs and ZZs
29/1/24 2. Opiates
5/2 3. Aspirin
12/2 4. TCA
19/2 Mid-Module Assignment
26/2 5. Paracetamol
4/3 6. Citalopram
11/3 7. Lithium
18/3 8. Potassium
25/3 End-Module Assignment
Easter and Module Break
Start Module 2: Toxidromes
8/4/24 1. Anticholinergic toxidrome
15/4 2. Serotonin Syndrome & MAOI
22/4 3. Sympathetic Toxidromes & SNRI
29/4 TAPNA Scientific Meeting Melbourne 1-3 May
6/5 4. Neuroleptic-associated syndromes
13/5 Mid-Module Assignment
20/5 5. Withdrawal Syndromes
27/5 6. Sedation and coma
3/6 7. Hypotension
10/6 8. Hyperthermia
17/6 End-Module Assignment
 Module Break
Start Module 3 – Pharmaceuticals
1/7/24 1. Digoxin
8/7 2. Beta blockers
15/7 3. Calcium channel blockers
22/7 4. Carbamazepine
29/7 Mid-Module Assignment
5/8 5. Valproate
12/8 6. Oral Anticoagulants
19/8 7. Hypoglycemic Agents
26/8 8. Iron
2/9 End-Module Assignment
Module Break
Start Module 4 – Non-pharmaceuticals
16/9/24 1. Pesticides
23/9 2. Toxic alcohols
30/9 3. Plants
7/10 4. Acid & Alkali
14/10 Mid-Module Assignment
21/10 5. Marine stings
28/10 6. Australian spiders
4/11 7. Snake bite VICC
11/11 8. Snake Bite Paralysis
18/11 Study leave
Week of 2/12 MCQ Examination