As it gets more difficult for medical graduates to secure an internship, we want to make sure our MIPS members are adequately informed so that you have the best chance of securing a place.
How it works
Applications for intern positions will open in early May for most hospitals. In Australia, hospitals use state/territory centralised intern application processes, typically run by the state government's health department and the postgraduate medical education organisation. Some exceptions apply and may also need to apply directly to the hospital (eg Austin and RMH).
When you apply you will be given priority based primarily on citizenship/visa status, state/territory of graduation and where you completed Year 12 studies. Priorities for graduating students are slightly different in each state and territory. For example, in Victoria there are three priority groups, in the ACT and Tasmania there are five and in NSW there are six.
Top priority group definitions for each state/territory are:
Australian Capital Territory
Guaranteed First Round Offer: CSP and IFF Graduates of the Australian National University.
New South Wales
Medical graduates of NSW universities who are Australian/New Zealand citizens or Australian permanent residents (Commonwealth Supported Place and Domestic Full Fee paying). Category 1 applicants are guaranteed an intern position in NSW.
Northern Territory (NT) Medical Program Bonded Scheme/Return of Service Obligation (RoSO) applicants (guaranteed placement)
Priority 1 candidates are medical graduates of Queensland universities who are Australian/New Zealand citizens, or Australian permanent residents and have not previously commenced an internship. Priority 1 candidates are guaranteed an offer of an intern position at a Queensland Health facility.
Medical graduates from a South Australian university - Commonwealth-supported (HECS-HELP) or SA Bonded Medical Scholarship Scheme (SABMSS) and Medical graduates from a South Australian university - full-fee paying
Australian permanent resident Tasmanian-trained Australian Government supported and full-fee paying medical graduates.
Priority Group 1 Australian permanent resident graduates of Victorian universities including domestic full fee paying students and New Zealand citizens (ie. graduates of University of Melbourne, Monash University, Deakin University and University of Notre Dame: Melbourne Clinical School).
All graduates of WA medical schools, who are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.
Consider hospitals in the state/territory where you completed year 12 even if you have since moved interstate. This may give your application added priority. This is great for medical students who want to return to their home state.
Getting the application right
Even if you’re only applying to hospitals for which you know you’ll fall into the priority category, you still want to get your top preference. Here’s a few tips for your application:
Ensure your CV is well-structured and concisely written. That said, nowadays most hospitals or state health departments may force you to use a template or online form. Ideally, download the template or login so you structure your CV in advance and reflect before you submit.
Follow the templates and instructions. The selection panel may review hundreds of applications so if you fail to follow basic instructions or miss part of a template, it will be obvious and your application considered less favourably.
Speak with recent applicants for their perspective. If you’ve maintained some contacts from the year ahead of you at university, ask them for help. No doubt that first-hand experience goes a long way so listen.
Speak with doctors you know at the hospital to which you’re applying to find out what skills, knowledge or services they are offering. For example, if you found out a particular hospital had a special community program for patients whose only language is Mandarin and you speak Mandarin – it would be worthwhile highlighting both facts on your application to demonstrate how you can assist the hospital.
Submit applications on time. It’s a competitive market place and unlike your university lecturers, the departments and hospitals won’t grant extensions. Some process guidelines state that late applications will not be considered. Applications for internships are likely to close in the first week of June.
You may not have to attend an interview. Some applicants will be matched to a hospital that may not choose to interview all the candidates. If you have to attend an interview, the rules are similar to any other job interview you would attend. Here are some helpful hints:
Never lie. Be honest in answering questions and try to be concise and stick to the question ask.
Provide solid reasons why you applied to the hospital when asked. If it was a long way down on your list of preferences, it’s probably not a good idea to tell your interviewers that as they’ll want a candidate that is engaged and excited about working in the hospital.
Elaborate on your responses. Don’t answer questions with just ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ unless it’s plainly obvious. This is your opportunity to sell yourself and while it’s good to be concise, your interviewers will want you to elaborate.
Give consideration to the context when answering questions about your behaviour, (eg was it in a hospital), the action you took and the result. This is known as the CAR principle (Context, Action, Result).