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>>>What I wish I knew as an Intern

What I wish I knew as an Intern

How exciting! Your first day of internship is here. You’re not exactly sure what to expect and with an abundance of advice on offer, it’s difficult to know what will be most relevant to you. Looking back at my year as an RG Intern, I think the single best piece of advice was also the simplest, “…always carry a muesli bar on the wards!”.

Here’s five other tips that might be useful for your new internship adventure.

 1. Find solutions, not problems

Rural Generalists are known for their ability to think laterally. Who knows? Before long you might find yourself working in remote western Queensland going full MacGyver to save someone’s life with a piece of bailing twine and a car battery. I kid of course but difficult decisions will arise daily, so practice working toward a solution to take to your supervisor. It’s a good way to test your logic as well.

2. Have a Registrar mindset in every rotation

Rural Generalists are the Jack and Jill’s of all trades. Remember each rotation you undertake is a great opportunity  to work closely with a specialist in that field and build your broad generalist skillset. Soak up all that experience by putting yourself in the mindset of an aspiring registrar. Study around cases you have seen and express your interest to get involved with procedures, even it means staying back or coming in on weekends if you can manage it. Use your logbook to highlight objective goals to your supervisor at the start of each rotation.

3. Cut to the point

Take detailed histories and conduct thorough examinations, but then try to deliver what’s most relevant to your supervisors. Open with the most pertinent information and if the person you’re discussing a case or an issue with wants to know more, they’ll ask.

4. Make the most of your weekends

Nothing will bring new appreciation for weekends like the first few weeks of your internship. Take advantage of your sense of adventure by getting out and about, join a local sporting club, stay involved with your community through activities you enjoy and foster relationships outside of the hospital environment to remain well-rounded.

5. You don’t need to know everything to be a good Intern

Medical students following in your footsteps are now stepping into the firing line; picking up all sorts of tasks and random responsibilities that were once yours. Now that you’ve shifted gears, being a good intern doesn’t require you to be able to list eponymous medical conditions, but it does demand organisation. Take pride in your ward. Be on time, ensure discharge summaries are done, don’t let your consultant or senior reg leave the morning ward round without having a clear idea of what they would like done for each patient and don’t underestimate (or be ashamed) of the power of the clipboard with a storage compartment. Fill that sucker up with blank pathology and radiology forms (along with that stash of muesli bars!).

If all else fails; keep smiling, be approachable, remember paracetamol is 1g QID and that Mount Isa is a great place to consider for your JHO year if things don’t work out the way you planned.


Tom Currie | Final Week Intern – Mount Isa, North West Hospital & Health Service

Photo credit: FabrikaSimf/

Jan 14th 2019| Blog, |