A pre-employment programme for overseas-trained doctors entering the Australian workforce, 1997-99

Elizabeth A. Sullivan*, Simon Willcock, Kathie Ardzejewska, Emma K. Slaytor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Overseas-trained doctors (OTDs) have limited access and formal interaction with the Australian health care system prior to joining the Australian medical workforce. A pre-employment programme was designed to familiarize OTDs with the Australian health care system. Method: All OTDs who had passed their Australian Medical Council (AMC) exams and were applying for a pre-registration year in New South Wales were invited to participate in the voluntary, free programme. A 4-week full-time programme was developed consisting of core group teaching and a hospital attachment. The curriculum included communication, health and workplace skills; and sessions on culture shock and the role of junior doctors. A pilot programme was run in 1997. The programme was repeated in 1998 and 1999. The OTDs' confidence regarding the general duties of internship, and attitudes towards hospital workplace skills were examined. Results: The 66 OTDs reported greater understanding of staff and communication issues and familiarization with the hospital environment. They reported a more realistic understanding of the role of a junior doctor, the need for separation of workplace and personal responsibilities and knowledge of pathways for future professional development. The course structure, with a focus on hospital attachments, establishment of a peer network, and workplace familiarization facilitated entry into the hospital workforce. Conclusion: The pre-employment programme enabled the OTDs to have a more equitable entry into the public hospital system, resulting in a more integrated, confident and functional workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-621
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Communication
  • Culture
  • Curriculum
  • Education, medical, methods
  • International cooperation
  • Physicians, organization


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