As the next round of intern doctors prepare to start their posts on 6 July, a Medical Protection Society (MPS) survey of current intern doctors reveals that 55% chose a career in medicine because they wanted to help people.1 However, a third of interns surveyed are now questioning their career choice and four out of five are considering working abroad in the next ten years.2
The survey also found that intern doctors face a number of professional and personal challenges on the wards, such as working beyond their contracted hours (93%), struggling with irregular meal times (77%) and a lack of sleep (67%).
Dr Gordon McDavid, Medicolegal Adviser at MPS said:
“It is encouraging to see that three quarters of interns (76%) enjoyed their first year as a doctor, 41% said being an intern doctor was better than what they had imagined and 37% are excited about their future career.
“While many intern doctors will consider their experience to be a challenging yet rewarding time, they must remember that they are not alone. It is OK to ask for help and to talk about issues with a senior colleague, manager or with MPS.”
Dr McDavid added:
“There is an onus on senior clinicians and clinical managers to harness the enthusiasm of interns and provide them with support and mentoring through the early years of training.
“It is also crucial for these leaders to encourage an open and supportive culture in the healthcare sector. Any team member should feel confident to raise concerns, if they have them, and feel safe in the knowledge that they will be managed appropriately. Recognition of problems and open discussion should be routine, rather than feared.
MPS is here to support intern doctors as they progress throughout their career, and has recently launched a webpage providing specific tips and advice, in addition to our publications ‘Preparing for your intern post’ and ‘New Doctor’. If intern doctors are feeling worried as a result of receiving a claim or complaint, MPS also offers a confidential counselling service to members.
Please contact Shannon Darling, MPS Press Officer at +44 207 399 1319 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
1 MPS conducted a survey of intern doctors in Ireland to find out their experience of their first year in clinical practice, which received 92 respondents and had a response rate of 15%.
2 In addition to the MPS survey, the Medical Council’s 2014 annual report revealed that just 54% of junior doctors plan to practice in Ireland, with 21% saying they will leave and 25% undecided (http://www.medicalcouncil.ie/News-and-Publications/Reports/Annual-Report-and-Financial-Statements-2014.html ).
3 MPS has experience of the challenges that junior doctors face and has published a ‘Preparing for your intern post’ guide to support them through this period.
4 MPS has also published a ‘Supporting you through your intern year’ guide which has information and advice on managing risk, good medical practice, careers and maintaining a healthy work/life balance. This can be found at: http://www.medicalprotection.org/ireland/preparing-for-your-intern-post