South African Family Practice

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An evaluation of factors influencing perceptual experiences and future plans of final-year medical interns in the Free State, 2013–2014

N Mofolo, J Botes


Background: Medical internship refers to the 24-month period of supervised training in an accredited facility, where newly qualified doctors rotate through all relevant medical domains before starting their community service as medical practitioners. The Free State province has one academic complex and three regional hospitals accredited for internship training.

Objectives: To evaluate the experience and future plans of final-year interns enrolled in a two-year medical internship programme in the Free State, and whether they felt sufficiently prepared to be medical doctors.

Methods: This study was a cross-sectional study. A questionnaire was distributed to all consenting interns from the Free State completing their second year of internship during 2013 and 2014.

Results: A total of 80 second-year internship doctors from four healthcare facilities completed the questionnaire. The majority (87.2%) indicated that they believe internship prepared them well for community service and 65.0% were positive about the supervision they received. However, only 52.5% felt that they were properly orientated.

Conclusion: Medical interns felt positive about their experiences at their allocated Free State healthcare facilities and acknowledged they were better prepared for their careers. In some domains, insufficient supervision and lack of orientation impacted on the internship experience. Workload, lack of resources, insufficient staff and work environment at institutions are the main push factors.

Keywords: experiences, Free State, medical internship, professional development, push-and-pull factors, supervision, training

AJOL African Journals Online