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How to survive your medical internship in 2022

🕑 7 minutes read


So….. You have made it though 2021, managed to successfully pass your studies during a pandemic and begin your journey as a doctor. Congratulations on this amazing achievement, you should be proud! Your journey as a doctor is a special one, you have the opportunity to go into work and make a real difference to people’s lives each and every day now.

Still feeling pretty overwhelmed though? Let us help.

Helpful tips and advice for 2022 medical interns

Prepare for lots of PPE usage

Dr Jordan Walter, touches on this subject in her interview with DPM Tax Consultant Anthony Dickinson, explaining that she used much more PPE than she had initially ever thought she would need to! There’s lots of training for how to correctly put on the PPE and it’s a very sweaty and not the most pleasant experience. It’s also a procedure that is used for other diseases like the flu, but doctors were required to gown up a lot more than usual for every patient they would see. So, as long as COVID is a big issue in the world you’ll need to gown up and get used to it fast.

Get used to moving teams every 10 weeks

You finally feel settled, know what you’re doing and understand the job. Then bang! It’s time to move to a new rotation, a new ward and a new team. The first few weeks of every rotation may be an unsettling and difficult time for you, as you’re in a new environment with people you may not feel comfortable with yet.

A helpful tip is to introduce yourself to the Nurse Unit manager and Ward Clerk the week before you start each rotation. You may even want to head over to your new ward on a Friday and give a face to a name so they know who they’re expecting to work with on Monday morning. Introducing yourself to the interns who have completed your upcoming rotation before you will also be a great help as they can give you a handover and pass on all the tips and tricks they just learned.

If your medical internship is in a rural setting, you may need to prepare differently

Dr Ted Elkington, discusses his experience as a first year doctor in a rural hospital in an interview with DPM Tax Consultant Anthony Dickinson. 

Preparing for border closures, especially during winter, is something to keep in mind as this will cause logistical dilemmas, particularly with patients getting care as if your hospital is located on or near the border in between two states. Your hospital may be shut off to a number of patients. These towns are so connected, so border closures add a huge challenge to a number of situations including needing passes and permits to get to work. A normally five-minute trip across the border may suddenly turn into half an hour!

Know the rules of overtime as a medical intern

A popular concern for junior doctors is expectations and hospital rules around overtime. Overtime for an Intern is hospital dependent, some health services are well known for paying overtime, and some are not. A helpful resource is the AMA’s Hospital Health Check Survey which gives doctors in training the chance to anonymously report on how their hospital has performed. They answer questions on how their year has been, with the results being presented as an A to E grade;  rankings for things like rostering, overtime, access to your leave and the culture of each hospital.

Turn to the best and most helpful resource for Interns

Your team is always the best place to start, this includes your Residents, Registrars and Consultants. Most of them are always happy to be called and answer any question you may have. But there’s definitely times in your internship where you won’t be able to contact your team, your Registrar will be in theatre, and the Consultant will be with them. In a scenario like this, don’t forget the Nurses on your ward, they’re often very experienced and knowledgeable in their particular area and are a great source of answers for any little questions you may have.

For any more complex and urgent questions, the Med Reg, or the ICU Reg are great people to go to, especially if they’re just about to sit their exams, or they’ve just sat their exams and have all the knowledge in their head. They’re great for emergency situations! Finally, if you’re ever concerned, just call a Met Call which will get the right people to you quickly, and calling for clinical concern, or clinical worry is a reason to call one. So, if you’re ever in a panic, there’s no shame or judgement, just call and someone will come to the rescue!

Don’t attach too much importance to not getting your chosen medical electives

Relax and don’t stress, if you miss out on your chosen electives this won’t affect your future journey anywhere near what you think. By going into a rotation with an open mind you will enrich your knowledge as a doctor and learn valuable skills you’ll be able to carry with you for the rest of your journey as a medical professional. You never know, if you’re really interested in an elective you didn’t get, there might be someone who would like to swap with you!

Learn to tackle first year nerves and butterflies

It’s always wise to remember that everyone is stressed about starting ANY internship, we’re only human after all! Knowing where to go when you need help is going to help you get through these feelings, some great resources you may find helpful are:

  • Saving all common websites as tabs on your phone;
  • Being able to quickly call the Met Call number;
  • Create a cheat sheet with all the common drugs that you prescribe; and
  • Ask your colleagues for help, they’re there to help and support you through this journey! Remember, they’ve all been right where you are at some stage too.

Don’t forget about you!

It’s very easy to get so focused on a new job and wanting to do well that you can forget to take care of your overall physical, emotional and social wellbeing. Taking the time to rest, recharge and connect with others will help you not only in your personal life, but your professional life too.

After all, you are your biggest asset! So far you’ve invested a lot in your future, putting yourself through med school, accumulating HELP debts and other potential loans along the way. For little to no return… until now. 

If something was to happen to you now (that you’re earning your first income) that meant you were unable to work, all your dedication and hard work may temporarily (or worse, permanently) go to waste. Insurance cover for junior doctors is one way to alleviate the risk of any issues affecting your financial future. Some types of insurance to consider at this stage of your career are:

  • Income protection insurance;
  • Life insurance;
  • Total and Permanent Disability insurance (TPD); and
  • Crisis insurance.

The most important thing to remember is to enjoy every day of your medical internship and make the most out of every experience that comes your way.

Disclaimer: * The information contained in this site is general and is not intended to serve as advice as your personal circumstances have not been considered. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain personal advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.

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