For those starting your internship, welcome to the big show! AMA (NSW)’s JMO Advisor, Jennifer Price gives interns her top tips for making it through the first year.
Starting your internship is a very exciting time. A culmination of many years of hard work. It is also a time when many feel nervous and anxious. After years of working with new interns, I have collated some top tips for starting out.
Ensure your commencement paperwork is complete
There is a lot of paperwork to finalise before you can commence. Ensure it is completed before you start. It may not seem important but once you commence you want your focus to be on the role you are undertaking. You don’t need to be worrying about obtaining a provider number or confirming your banking details in addition to all the other tasks you will now be responsible for.
Make sure you are registered with AHPRA
You would be surprised how many interns I have seen over the years who have overlooked ensuring their registration with AHPRA has been processed and/or kept current. Let me be clear, you cannot work without this. No matter what you’ve heard, or what your colleague has told you, you cannot work as a doctor without this. Save yourself the stress and ensure it has been processed and is current.
It is a transition
This is the time when you move from medical student to doctor. It is new, it is exciting, and it is nerve-racking. Many interns feel they are an imposter for the first few weeks. This is normal and the feeling will pass. Trust that you have been trained for this role and know that there are many people, both in and out of the hospital system, who are able to and want to support you.
You will get quicker
It takes time to learn all the hospital systems and processes. Even learning the location of wards and services can be difficult if it is a new hospital. This will all become second nature in time.
Be on time, know your roster, dress professionally, respect your colleagues. You are now in the workplace and being respectful and courteous goes a long way to making your day to day life easier.
Ask for help
You are not working alone. There is a whole team around you. If you are unsure of a patient situation speak with your consultant, your registrar, nursing staff or your DPET.
Work as a team
Some days you will be very busy, other days it may be one of your colleagues. If you work together you can lighten the load for each other. Be respectful to other medical staff including doctors, nurses and allied health staff. Know that everyone is working together for the best outcome of the patient.
Build a support network
Some of you won’t need to move for your internship, others will. Ensure that whichever category you are in you have or find people who can support you. This may be your family, a group of friends, or your workmates. Ensure you have your own regular GP, it is important not to self-diagnose. In the hospital system your DPET and JMO Unit can provide you with support and assistance. Know that there are other external supports available as well including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Doctors Health Advisory Service (DHAS), and the JMO Support Line, who can provide confidential support.
Take time out
It is a busy time and can be stressful. Take your annual leave and use your Allocated Days Off (ADOs). Make sure you take time out to do things that make you happy and help you to relax. Spending time with family and friends, going to the gym, reading a great book can all help to release some stress and fill your happy reserves. Don’t get caught up in focusing on work only.
This is the first year of your career life. You have worked hard to get here. Own it and be proud.
Jennifer Price has extensive experience with NSW Health, managing the recruitment processes for both junior medical staff and nursing staff. For more than 10 years she has specialised in junior medical officer management, overseeing the appointment of junior staff, managing rosters, providing award interpretation and policy advice for doctors-in-training, overseeing industrial issues, managing payroll concerns and providing pastoral support.