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Preparing medical graduates in Sri Lanka for a productive internship and beyond: The "Good Intern Program"

Introduction: The transition from undergraduate student to independent practitioner for medical graduates is a challenging one. This paper describes a multi-faceted training model-the “Good Intern Programme (GIP)”-that aims to provide such training for newly qualified doctors (pre-interns, PI) in Sri Lanka.

Methods: The development and implementation of the GIP included the following: focus group discussions to understand the requirements; a needs assessment including identification of the main stressors; a 10-day practical Tamil language-training programme; a 4-day acute care skills training (ACST) program; and a 4-day Good Medical Practice (GMP) workshop based on the system building blocks of the WHO.

Results: 980 PIs participated in the needs assessment; 383 (39.1%) stated that the first half of their internship was more stressful than the second (p<0.003). Amongst the 866 PI who registered for the GIP, 783 (90.4%) considered knowledge of medical administrative matters to be of importance to doctors. Hospital based clinical training, conducted in 28 hospitals island-wide, was attended by 278 PI; a statistically significant increase for all surveyed skills was demonstrated. The feedback for the GMP workshop, attended by 796 PI, was broadly positive with the session on “essential skills for interns” receiving the highest positive rating for relevance.

Conclusion: The GIP provides a comprehensive opportunity to facilitate the transition of medical graduates in Sri Lanka using a multimodal, integrated and sustainable platform. This national program may have applicability beyond Sri Lanka.

Author(s): Padeniya AB, de Alwis S, Mahesh B, Senanayake S, Ranasinghe D, De Silva AP, Ferdinando R, Mahipala PG, Dharmagunawardene D, Epitakaduwa C, Subramaniam N, Askin S, Weerasinghe S, Herath N, Jinadasa L and Haniffa R