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Supporting graduating Medical Students and their transition to Internship

6th December, 2018

The transition from studying medicine to commencing an internship can be a challenging and stressful time for graduates. The 2013 beyondblue survey of medical students and doctors  found that the main sources of stress for students were related to study work load, however for interns this shifted to stress caused by “making decisions” and “fear of making mistakes”. The same survey also found that, compared to medical students, interns had a far higher rate of burnout due to indifference or a distant attitude towards one’s work (i.e. cynicism).

Dr Rebekah Hoffman, a PhD student at the University of Wollongong School of Medicine, uncovered a number of further factors that could put a junior doctor at high risk of burnout. Read more about Dr Hoffman’s research here.

As well as working to ensure a safe and supported learning environment for their students and providing a wide range of services, medical schools are working to encourage the establishment of strong self-care habits at this early stage of their career.

It is important for students and interns to have a local GP who they can turn to, familiarise themselves with the wellbeing resources and services that are available and know how to access them when needed, ask for support from their supervisors and mentors (although the concerns and fears in doing this are recognised), and stay connected with their peers as they commence their internships in 2019.

The health and wellbeing of medical students is a priority for Medical Deans, and through our Student Health Committee we foster the sharing of best practice strategies and resources across medical schools, undertake collaborative work to continue improving understanding of the issue, and facilitate member schools in supporting medical students across all years of study..


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