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Following a proposal from the six medical schools in Ireland, via the Intern Network Executive, a programme has been designed to give interns the opportunity to undertake a three-month project in either clinical research, medical education or healthcare leadership and management.
The HSE is investing €250,000 in this pilot programme, facilitating 24 interns to benefit during the intern year 2017-2018. Each of the six Intern Networks will host an academic track intern post, with four academic interns rotating through the post.
Selected interns will be able to undertake the additional activities during one of their four internship rotations and achieve a substantial project during their intern year. They will gain real-life academic/management experience in addition to their clinical experience.
Prof Eilis McGovern of the HSE’s NDTP commented: “This is the first time that an academic track has been available to interns in Ireland with approximately a third of all applicants for an internship in Ireland in 2017 expressing an interest in undertaking this innovative pathway. It is a great opportunity for those who will be selected to gain valuable experience in either clinical research, further medical education or leadership and healthcare management.”
“Selected interns will make valuable connections with clinical researchers, academic and healthcare leaders that they might not otherwise encounter until a much later career stage. The programme is designed to give them a taster of academic medicine/healthcare management and should leave them well placed to pursue further academic training during specialty training.”
NDTP hopes that the availability of the academic track internships in Ireland will contribute to the retention of medical graduates of Irish medical schools who have academic as well as clinical ambitions. Furthermore, this initiative provides an early and dedicated focus on research skills among doctors, many of whom will go on to undertake further and more sizeable academic research during their careers and work as academic clinicians.
The HSE will provide a bursary to each academic track intern that will be matched by their relevant medical school. Recruitment for these posts is already underway and applications for 2017-2018 closed in January. The first cohort of academic track interns is expected to be notified and appointed shortly and to commence their internship as usual in July.
The HSE NDTP said it has worked closely with the Intern Network Executive, as well as the HSE National Recruitment Services (NRS) to bring this initiative to pilot stage. Furthermore, the Medical Council has approved the academic track as a pathway for interns to obtain their professional registration requirements.