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Pandemic provides extra training to newest interns

Thursday, 21 January 2021

WHILE the pandemic disrupted a lot of plans in 2020, it also provided some of Barwon Health's newest intern doctors with some extra insights during their final year of education.

Pre-empting the potential for impact to the workforce, medical students at the Geelong Clinical School undertook a 10-week pre-internship between the first and second wave of COVID-19, allowing them to shadow intern doctors. 

Last week, 43 junior medical doctors began their year as full-time interns at Barwon Health, including 18 who were trained at the Geelong Clinical School.

After completing her entire education in Geelong, Dr Rachael Marshall is working on a general medical ward at University Hospital Geelong, just a couple of flights of stairs from where she was born.

Dr Marshall said spending the final year of training in pandemic conditions had given interns even more exposure to the hospital setting, and helped the transition into their new work environment.

"The structure of our final year was changed during the pandemic, but it meant we could spend most of the year at the hospital, especially with our 10-week pre-internship," she said.

"The Geelong Clinical School started the pre-internship in the middle of year, in case we had to unexpectedly join the workforce in the second wave. 

"A pre-internship would normally happen at the end of the year for a shorter time, so spending 10 weeks shadowing an intern put us in really good stead for this year and made the transition a little easier."

Dr Marshall said the quality of the hospital, the staff, and a sense of camaraderie had attracted her to begin her career at Barwon Health.

"Opportunities to train and work in Geelong have definitely grown a lot even in the last five or 10 years," she said.

"It all feels a bit new and different and scary, having new responsibilities and challenges, but I'm looking forward to learning to be a good team member over the next year."