Monday, 3 October 2016

Medical internship vs externship. Which to choose?

Route to become a doctor
1. Degree in medicine
2. Residency program
3. House Officer
4. Medical officer
5. Consultant

 Medical Externships

Medical Externships provide medical students a hands-on clinical program that matches the medical residency program requirements. It fills the experience requirement for medical students who are applying for residency program as medical externs will receive a letter of recommendation or testimonial that would be useful during their residency program. The duration of the externship should be short term, around 12 weeks.

Externships provide real and hands-on medical practice experience for medical experience and not just simple observing or understudy the physician on duty. Externs will be attached to an attending physician and perform clinical work such as organising patient records and assisting medical examinations. Externs must be supervised by a licensed physician. Medical externships are an excellent opportunity for medical students preparing for residents.

Medical internships

Medical internships are essential for medical graduates to become a fully qualified doctor. Similar to an externship, medical interns would practice and train under the supervision of a licenced physician. More specifically, students in their final year should apply for internships specific to their intended field of specialisation. Increased competition pertaining to specialised medical internships are expected and the interview process would be much more rigorous. Nowadays, medical internships are integrated with residency programs.

Medical internships can occur in 2 phases – first year resident students and final year resident students. Internships for first year residents are usually involve general medical duties and patient assistance. The key takeaway for first year medical students would be to familiarise themselves and understand the daily operations of a hospital or clinic.

Medical internships can last for quite some time, especially if the medical intern wants to pursue a specialisation in a particular field of study. Specialised medical internships are mostly considered by final year resident students. Medical internships for final year resident students would be useful in providing them the opportunity to finalise the field of study that they want to specialise in and obtain exposure to a professional medical setting and hone their skills in managing medical emergencies.

Medical interns can expect long hours of work of about 16 hours a day or even 80 hours in a week, not to mention a steep learning curve. This is definitely expected as there is no textbook to prepare a medical practitioner to diagnose a patient and there is no live simulation that would teach a medical practitioner to perform surgery. The role of a medical practitioner is to provide the best medical care possible and any decision made by a medical practitioner can be a matter of life or death. Grueling internships are deemed necessary for interns to receive the appropriate mental conditioning and skills as a medical practitioner.

Disclaimer: This is a work for the sole purpose of an academic project. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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