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Improving the Intern Year

The Council has made it a priority this year to focus on how it can bring about changes to the intern year for the benefit of trainees.  The Council’s primary role is to set and monitor the standards for all aspects of internship, and the need for improvement has been highlighted by our ‘Your Training Counts’ survey of all trainee doctors.  This found that only half of interns felt their previous medical education and training prepared them well for intern year, and trainees at this stage in their careers also reported lower satisfaction with induction. 

The intern year is a significant point in a doctor’s career.  It marks an escalation in responsibilities and has a definite bearing on the type of doctor we become.  We know from research that habits and behaviours developed early in a doctor’s career can be replicated throughout their professional lives, and all those of us involved in training have a duty to make sure doctors are fully supported to develop skills which will best serve them and their patients

To better understand the reasons for this, we have explored the views of trainees and partner organisations involved in intern training and have recently published these findings.  To ensure feedback was open and honest, we asked Amárach research to carry out this work on our behalf. 

There were encouraging findings in that interns were generally very positive about their experiences and there was broad agreement on the strengths and challenges that are faced during the year.  Issues raised included a lack of preparedness for the year, being on-call before trainees felt ready and the volume of administrative tasks.  The perceived need for a more cohesive and united approach by the Council, medical schools, training bodies and the HSE was one finding that is foremost in our minds.  To that end, any work we do will be informed by the views of all of those within the sector and we have recently completed a consultation process on a draft framework (PDF) describing what interns are expected to achieve at the end of intern training.  We are conscious that for trainees to notice positive change, all parties will need to support them and have a shared vision for the outcome of the year, so we will now consider the feedback we have received before the framework is finalised.   

Professor Freddie Wood,

Medical Council President