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As you complete your final year as a medical student and transition to becoming an intern, it is common to encounter challenging situations. It is important to be aware of the options for support you can access at these times. It is essential to build up your own support network of people you can turn to when you need to talk about any difficulties you are experiencing. Look out for each other now and during the intern year. Check in with your student friends and fellow interns regularly. Being able to support each other is invaluable and these friendships with colleagues will be important throughout your career.

This can be a time of up and downs. The intern application process can be stressful, as you make decisions about where you would like to start your career and then wait to see if you are offered your first choice, with the risk of being disappointed by the outcome.

Then, as you approach the end of your final year as a student, complete your last assessments and head for graduation and a holiday, it can be aa time of great excitement. .

When you commence as an intern and start dealing with day-to-day tasks and the heavy administrative burden undertaken by intern doctors, you might question whether your vision of medicine was wrong. Each rotation brings a new team and different personalities and expectations. It can feel as if you are just starting to know what you are doing when one rotation finishes and the next rotation starts. As you experience constant change, remember that it is okay to ask questions. Tap into the expertise of those around you including nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists, ward clerks and receptionists as well as your medical colleagues. They will be an invaluable support during your many rotations.

During your intern year, there will be difficult situations such as the first time you are required to break bad news or when a patient dies or when you make a mistake or miss a critical sign. You will at times feel out of your depth or that you have been given too much responsibility. You may have concerns about workload or your rosters or feel exhausted or unwell. It is quite normal to feel emotional at times. Setting aside time to reflect on how you are feeling and acknowledging your emotions is essential. Be self-compassionate and build self-care into your routine. Unless you spend time focusing on your own needs and replenishing yourself, you will not be able to provide optimum care to your patients and you will burn out. Lean on your support network when the going gets tough.

It can be hard to speak up as an intern. Your workplace should be free of bullies and discrimination and the culture should provide an environment that allows you to ask questions, raise concerns and  learn. Psychological safety allows individuals to feel comfortable being themselves, expressing concerns, asking questions, and offering ideas without fear of backlash or ridicule. Outside your team, your Director of Training is a good person to reach out to for support and guidance. If you don’t feel safe raising issues at work, there are external organisations and services which you can reach out to for confidential support. Expert advice will always be available through AMA Victoria. Ask us about workload oremployment issues or career guidance. Your indemnity insurer can offer advice about clinical risk management or an incident, error or a notification from Ahpra. Make sure you have your own GP with whom you feel comfortable and with whom you can honestly discuss how you are feeling. Your GP is an essential part of your support network throughout your life.

Options for seeking support for your wellbeing at any stage in your career include:

Resources and further reading about wellbeing: