In most professions, once you graduate from university you go straight into the workforce. However, whether you're specializing in treating depression or aiming to do surgeries here in Pembroke Pines, all doctors must go through a mandatory post-university practical training period known as an internship. If you would like to learn more about what interns do and how you might interact with them at a hospital, this article should provide you with some insight.
In the United States, the internship period lasts about one year. During this year the intern is a doctor - having graduated from medical school with a degree in medicine - but is not yet licensed to practice medicine unsupervised. During this one year period the doctor will be apprenticed (or interned) to a more senior doctor who is already a licensed optometrist or general physician for example. This doctor will supervise and direct the intern as he or she treats patients and be responsible for the intern's failures. (We must thank the medical team at Expressions Dental Centre in London whom we consulted with to create this page.)
If the doctor wishes to become a general physician, after the one year internship is completed the doctor may start up his or her own practice or seek employment at a hospital. However, doctors who wish to take on a specialty, such as surgery or directing a physiotherapy clinic, will have to move on to another period of specialized training known as a residency, which lasts from two to seven years. During this time residents may be tasked with guiding interns through their basic training.
Not all hospitals or clinics will have interns attached to them. Those that do are known as teaching hospitals and if you go into one for therapy your case will likely be used as a teachable moment for an intern, who will perform your treatment under the watchful eye of a more senior doctor. You can, if you wish, ask for a more senior doctor to perform your treatments if you are concerned about the level of care you get from an intern, but be aware that the less an intern gets to do the less he or she will know when he or she becomes an independent doctor.
Internships are very hard on new doctors. Their shifts may last up to 36 hours, with the young doctors being required to nap whenever possible in the on-call rooms at the hospital. During the internship the intern will also be passed around to various experts who will teach them the particular skills required for intensive care or physiotherapy or obstetrics or even assisting dentists with oral surgeries. You can get an idea of how grueling the training is by watching the first few seasons of the television show Grey's Anatomy.