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SAMET recently released a Communique that outlines the recommendations from an Expert Group convened to address the shortage of internship positions in South Australia. This document is attached below and available via the SAMET website.
This document does not confirm a policy change or directive from SAMET but represents outcomes of discussions over the last 12 months. Unfortunately, this poses more questions than it answers, as such the AMSS has provided the following commentary on the document. Please note that much of this is speculation based on information from a variety of sources. Until such time that the AMSS has formal confirmation this serves as the best information available:
What does this document mean for final year students?
The Expert Group does not in itself make decisions on intern allocations but merely provides recommendations to SAMET on how to do this. Thus, the communique only serves to outline potential, rather than actual outcomes. In the document to solid recommendations are to continue with criteria from the 2017 Applications, but what is less clear is the stance on other criteria including the existing Category system and merit based allocation.
Merit Based Allocation
Whilst it does not confirm the implementation of a merit based system, the Communique is the first official document that makes mention of the possibility of such a system. It should therefore be assumed that this is a possible and reasonably likely outcome.
So what is “merit”?
With no confirmation of a merit based system there is also no solid information on how such a system would be structured and what elements would be considered in evaluating between graduates. However, based on the information available the following modalities have been considered:
Structured CV - similar to that used by the College of Surgeons and other colleges whereby a variety qualifications and experience are listed under set headings
Interview - would likely focus on elements of professionalism and reasoning rather than medical knowledge. Similar to interviews for entry into Medical School
Situational Testing - short scenario-based or written paper format focusing on problem solving and reasoning in scenarios, rather than medical knowledge per se.
Whilst possible, it is distinctly unlikely that University grades or bandings will be considered in applications. Given the lack of standardisation between courses, rotations, and institutions this is not an equitable modality to evaluate graduates and it is believed that SAMET will share this view.
What should I do about all this?
Firstly, don’t panic. Continue to apply yourself and strive to be the best student you can clinically and professionally. Take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves, whether they’ve readily tangible meritorious outcomes or not, and to continue to study and grow to be a reliable, approachable and safe intern. Ultimately, this is what we will be selected for and judged on.
The AMSS recognises this is an extremely stressful time and encourages students to look after their health and wellbeing, look out for their peers and to seek help if needed. Support is available through University Counselling, Doctors Health SA and Lifeline.
https://www.adelaide.edu.au/counselling_centre/ - 8313 5663
http://www.doctorshealthsa.com.au/ - 8232 1250
https://www.lifeline.org.au - 13 11 14
What is the AMSS doing about it?
Following the release of the Communique the AMSS sent a letter to SAMET outlining our concerns and requesting clarity on the application process for 2017. The Executive discussed this at length and devised and advocacy strategy that involves speaking with SAMET and both sides of Parliament directly and with help from the AMA(SA).
If you would like to help, the AMSS will be releasing a document outlining how to contact your state MP including a list of talking points and more information will be provided then.