Fewer mandatory internships

Medical students sometimes have to wait as long as eighteen months for their internships. To shorten waiting times, internship requirements have changed.
By Anne Floor Lanting / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

In 2016, the medical faculty recently set a strict deadline for their bachelor programme in light of changes in the curriculum. Many students must now start their master programme earlier than they otherwise would have.

‘This change temporarily led to a huge influx of students into the master programme. We didn’t even have enough internship spots when we had a regular influx of students. So over the years we’ve built up a backlog’, deputy dean Gerda Croiset explains. The waiting period to secure an internship has become longer every year.

More spots

The UMCG and non-teaching hospitals in smaller towns decided to create more internships, which helped for a while, says Croiset. But it didn’t help enough, so the internship requirements for paediatrics, gynaecology, neurology, and psychiatry are no longer mandatory. This should prevent the waiting periods from increasing yet again.

‘The situation isn’t set in stone. There are various specialities that aren’t mandatory but are still important’, Croiset explains. ‘Which internships are mandatory and which aren’t is fairly arbitrary.’ Certain aspects of neurology, for example, are covered by the mandatory general practitioner internship. ‘But they also pop up during orthopaedics, which isn’t mandatory’, says Croiset.

Quality

The UMCG educational and research council’s student faction worries that removing the mandatory status from certain internships will harm educational quality. They are concerned that students won’t have learned sufficient competencies at the end of their studies.

Croiset feels she can guarantee that they will, however. She is also confident that the waiting period can be shortened to a maximum of three months. ‘We offer students three out of four internships.’ And if students are hell-bent on taking the fourth? They’re still looking for ways to accommodate that particular group, says Croiset.

 

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