The intern year marks your transition from student to medical practitioner. It builds on the theoretical framework you developed as a medical student and gives you experience in applying that theory to the treatment of patients, as a responsible professional.
The purpose of the internship is to provide you with structured experiences that enable you to consolidate and extend your theoretical knowledge and technical skills. It is an opportunity to learn in a relatively protected environment. You will have the opportunity to learn technical skills and to exercise greater judgment than can be applied in a student situation. Your experiences during the intern year should contribute towards you acquiring some of the core competencies and capabilities identified in the Australian Curriculum Framework for Junior Doctors.
Intern Registration Standard
The other major objective of your internship is to successfully achieve full medical registration at the end of the 12 months.
The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) has established the Intern Registration Standard: Granting general registration as a medical practitioner to Australian and New Zealand medical graduates on completion of intern training under section 52 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as in force in each state and territory (‘the National Law’), and in accordance with section 38(2) of the National Law. It defines the supervised intern (provisional registration year) training requirements that must be completed in order for graduates of Australian and New Zealand medical programs accredited by the Australian Medical Council and approved by the Medical Board of Australia to be eligible for general registration.
Graduates of these programs of study are required to hold provisional registration and to satisfactorily complete 12 months of supervised practice as an intern before being eligible for general registration.
Intern Registration Standard
Internship is a period of mandatory supervised general clinical experience. It allows medical graduates to consolidate and apply clinical knowledge and skills while taking increasing responsibility for the provision of safe, high quality patient care. Diagnostic skills, communication skills, management skills, including therapeutic and procedural skills, and professionalism are developed under appropriate supervision. Internship also informs career choices for many graduates by providing experience in different medical specialties including general practice, and providing a grounding for subsequent vocational (specialist) training. As an intern, you are only entitled to work within your allocated hospital and the posts the Accreditation subcommittee has approved for intern training. It is not lawful for you to work in another institution or as a locum.
Satisfactory completion of internship leads to general registration. General registration indicates that the practitioner has the skills, knowledge and experience to work as a safe entry level medical practitioner able to practise within the limits of their training.
Interns are required to perform satisfactorily under supervision in the following terms:
• A term of at least 8 weeks that provides experience in emergency medical care
• A term of at least 10 weeks that provides experience in medicine
• A term of at least 10 weeks that provides experience in surgery
• A range of other approved terms to make up 12 months (minimum of 47 weeks full time equivalent service).
Rotations/ terms must be accredited against approved accreditation standards for intern training. If you do not satisfactorily complete any or all of the components of your internship, you could be required to undertake further training before being eligible for general registration.
There are usually four or five terms in an internship (between 10 and 12 weeks duration). You are required to complete three core terms in medicine, surgery and emergency care and other (non-core) rotations make up the balance of the intern year providing opportunities to explore additional areas of medicine and surgery, anaesthesia, psychiatry, paediatrics and less acute care such as rehabilitation medicine, palliative care, geriatrics and general practice.
For more information on what you can expect during your intern year including welfare and support requirements, clinical learning and supervision requirements for rotations and general information on the National Intern Training Framework download A Guide for Interns in Victoria.
Rural Community Intern Training
In March 2014, the Department of Health released a paper entitled ‘Rural Community Intern Training’ which articulates a plan to vertically integrate medical undergraduate/ graduate, intern and PGY2 training to provide trainees with the opportunity to complete the entirety of their training in one region.
The increase in medical graduates in Victoria provides an opportunity to:
• Expand the number of medical graduates working in rural areas and particularly, primary care settings; and
• Examine the way in which intern training is provided so that the medical training system supports greater retention of medical graduates in rural Victoria to ensure patient needs are met.
Rural Community Intern Training (RCIT) is a new approach where interns considering a career in rural general practice can undertake the majority of their training in a range of smaller rural health settings with the aim being to influence the graduate’s career choice. A key feature of an RCIT program is the option to undertake up to 20 weeks training in a broad range of community based clinical settings and provides the opportunity to integrate intern training into a postgraduate training pathway that includes PGY2 and the rural generalist program.
The following RCIT programs are accredited by PMCV:
- Murray to the Mountains (M2M) in the Hume region.
- Grampians Health Services involving rotations to Ararat, Maryborough Health Service, St John of God Ballarat Hospital and general practices at Ararat and Maryborough.
- Echuca Regional Health including external rotations to Bendigo Health and Echuca Moama Medical Centre.
- South West Healthcare involving an expansion of the current intern program to include new intern rotations to St John of God Warrnambool Hospital.
- East Gippsland Community Based Internship program involving intern posts at Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, Central Gippsland Health Service, McLeod Street Medical Clinic in Bairnsdale and Clocktower Medical Centre in Sale.