A group of medical students have taken another step towards their new career as they were welcomed into Bendigo Health's internship program this week.
The 40 participants will spend the next 52 weeks rotating and working in different parts of the hospital, putting the skills they've learnt in the last six to seven years during their studies.
Bendigo Health Intern Training supervisor Sanneil Mathias said he looked forward to seeing what these soon-to-be-doctors would bring to the organisation.
"We will have our interns completing 10 weeks in general medicine, 10 weeks in surgery, eight weeks in emergency medicine and the rest of the time is there for elective placements that can be completed in other specialties," he said.
"One of the good things about Bendigo is we're a large enough town where we are able to have a lot of sub-specialties for the interns to rotate through and experience, but we're not too large that they get lost in the system.
"So we can provide a more personal training as well. The interns get a weekly training and catch ups with their supervisors which makes it a bit more country focused and inclusive.
"We're looking forward to having all our new interns here and seeing what they can do."
Intern Dr Lucas Phelps said he looked forward to getting out into the workforce after his long years of studying.
"I'd be lying if I said there weren't a few nerves, but after six or seven years of training, to be able to really start to apply that training is really exciting," he said.
"We get to continue to learn under the guidance of the junior, senior doctors and nursing staff at Bendigo Health so we're pretty keen to get started."
Dr Phelps said after spending the last 18 months training in Bendigo, he was keen to step into his emergency rotation.
"I get two emergency rotations which I'm excited about," he said.
"It's a great place to practice our general skills and spend a lot of time with patients and consultant doctors which will be great.
"I'm starting in the surgical ward which is renowned for being fast paced and exciting as well as very challenging, so I'm looking forward to that."
Dr Mathias said there was a high rate of interns who would have the opportunity to stay on with Bendigo Health after the end of the program.
"We tend to see about 60 to 80 per cent of interns continue to work with us after their stint here," he said.
"One of the advantages is that this year we have a lot of interns who were medical students with us and have chosen to come back.
"And around 95 per cent of this group has been involved in rural or regional healthcare as medical students, whether that be in Bendigo or in the surrounding areas.
"What that means is it helps us see that there is a passional for regional medicine and even if they do go away to Melbourne and do a little bit of sub-specialty training, there's a high chance they will come back and that's really exciting."
He said as each specialty would most likely treat COVID-19 patients, the interns will have that training built into the program.
"COVID-19 has opened up a new world of medicine in the last few years and we have to ensure our personal protective equipment is robust and we're doing all the right things in that regard," Dr Mathias said.
"We also want to make sure the interns get that experience and have the ability to treat those patients in a supervised fashion."
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