Medical students graduating from the University of the West Indies may find it increasingly difficult to secure internship placements as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
Head of Pediatrics and coordinator of QEH’s internship programme Dr Clyde Cave said the hospital had limited capacity to absorb the number of graduates from the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Cave Hill.
And he warned that situation could worsen if left unchecked.
Speaking at the Martindale Road facility during the intake of 30 interns for the 2014-2015 period, Dr Cave revealed that QEH could only accept 30 of the 55 graduates who applied for the one-year internship programme. Forty-four of the applicants were Barbadians.
“What you are seeing this morning is the 30 who were elected based on the top grades to start their apprenticeship. They [unsuccessful applicants] have to look for other internship positions which are hard to come by because there seems to be an over supply of medical degrees compared with the traditional places for internship,” he said.
“Previously we had 20 students per year graduating from our medical school and we had 20 internship positions and then it slowly increased. The numbers are increasing so perhaps this situation may be even worst in years to come. It fluctuates, the University would have to speak to how many people that they have. Our regulations state that we have to select Bajans first so we never even got down to the non-Barbadian Caribbean applicants who we had because as we said, there are more Barbadians with degrees than we have positions for. So all of the other applicants, while eligible, were not considered,” he pointed out.
During the programme, interns would spend three-month rotations each in Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Pediatrics and Surgery, and be mentored by senior doctors.
They would also be continuously evaluated, and those who perform the best would be designated “Outstanding Interns” with one being selected as “Intern of the Year”.
Meantime, Dr Jamario Skeete, who was named QEH Intern of the Year 2012-2013 advised the new interns they would have to depend on their determination and perseverance during the process.
“You will be faced with challenges of exhaustion and at times frustration . . . it is during these times that you would be called to give of your best. Today as you embark on this journey, I encourage you to continue to give of your absolute best.
“The impact that you will have on patients on a daily basis is immense. Never take it for granted. . . As the intern, you will spend the most time with the patients on your team, be your patients advocate and keep their interests at heart. In despair, call on your colleagues, your friends, your family and most importantly call on your fate and despite hardship, give it your all,” Dr Skeete advised.