Medical Council logoComhairle na nDochtúirí Leighis | Medical Council

A consultation on supporting the transition from medical student through intern training to fully registered doctor

Intern training is the first year of supervised practise for doctors who have graduated from medical school with a basic medical qualification.  It is a change for recent medical graduates since, for the first time, they become registered medical practitioners, they hold clinical responsibility for patient care under appropriate supervisory arrangements, they are employees in the health service, they are full members of the clinical team and they continue to train and develop as doctors. 

Following successful completion of intern training, the intern is awarded a certificate of experience by the Medical Council, which, in conjunction with their basic medical qualification provides the new doctor with formal qualifications in basic medical training and an entitlement to full registration with the Medical Council.  

Intern training is a critical stage in doctors’ professional development.  There have been significant reforms in intern training in Ireland in the last decade to bring about improvements for the benefits of trainees, health services and ultimately for the public. 

Activity undertaken by the Medical Council to review the current status of intern training has confirmed that the improvements are positively perceived by various stakeholders.  However, the review has also identified that there are some aspects of intern training which would now benefit from further development.

Please download the report of a Stakeholder Study (PDF) commissioned by the Medical Council in 2015 which informed this review.

A report of the Annual Education and Training Symposium hosted by the Medical Council in September 2015 entitled “Supporting the Transition from Student to Doctor” (PDF) is also available for download. 

As a lever for change, the Medical Council is proposing an outcomes-based approach to intern training in Ireland and has developed a draft framework (PDF) describing what interns are expected to achieve at the end of intern training using an Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA) (PDF) model. Implementation of this new framework, in conjunction with other recommendations, is intended to drive further improvements in intern training in Ireland.

An EPA is a discrete professional task that supervisors entrust a trainee to complete unsupervised, once adequate competence has been obtained.  EPAs are distinct from competencies, which describe abilities of knowledge, skill or attitude; however, they link competencies with professional practice and so as to operationalise an outcomes-based approach in the context workplace learning, such as intern training. Learn more about EPA from the AMEE Guide 99: “Curriculum development for the workplace using Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs)” by ten Cate et al.

At this stage, your views are sought on a range of questions that will help the Medical Council complete its review and set out recommendations for implementation in 2016.  In total, this document proposes 6 questions for consideration:

  • What aspects of intern training do you think are working well at the moment?
  • What aspects of intern training do you think could be improved?
  • Do you agree that defined competencies should be established for successful completion of intern training and award of a certificate of experience?
  • Do you agree with an EPA approach being used to describe what doctors are expected to achieve at the end of intern training?
  • Do you agree with each EPA proposed?
  • What considerations do you think arise for implementation of EPAs in the intern year in Ireland? 

The Medical Council will consider all feedback received.  A set of recommendations for improvement of intern training in Ireland will be proposed in 2016.            

This consultation is now closed.