Creating a Culture of Support for medical students and graduates transitioning to practice

Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportEducation


A common feature of all good practice workplace cultures is that employees are supported by their
employers to realise their full work potential. This is particularly true for healthcare services, where
lack of support for the needs of health workers may have consequences for patients and their
communities, as well as for health workers themselves.
Medical programs in Australia and New Zealand recognise this good practice principle and have
committed considerable resources to supporting the wellbeing of medical students during their
studies – knowing this will contribute to greater completion rates of safe and competent graduates.
There is increasing awareness that the transition from university to internship is a critically important
event in the lives of medical students, and that universities and health services should have robust
systems in place to ensure a supportive transition. A significant barrier to achieving this goal is that
some students/graduates fear they will be stigmatised1 if they ask forsupport to meet their individual
physical or mental health needs or caring responsibilities when taking up internships. Employers, too,
may have concerns about their capacity to provide additional support and the subsequent implications
from an employment law perspective, including Equal Employment Opportunity law.
Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand (Medical Deans) has joined with representatives of student
organisations, junior doctors, and prevocational medical councils to consider these issues2
. We
recognise that a fundamental pre-requisite of any effective system of transition to practice is the
creation of a de-stigmatised culture, where those seeking support feel safe to do so in the knowledge
that they will not suffer negative consequences, while those providing support recognise the
institutional, individual and community benefits of a healthy workplace environment.
This discussion paper sets out:
• principles which the Medical Deans cross-sectoral working group believes can engender the
cultural change required to support the sharing of information
• proposals endorsed by Medical Deans3 as the features which should underpin systems
implemented by the jurisdictions (with the detail of each system to be determined by the
• the respective roles and responsibilities of medical schools, health services and
students/graduates in a culture that supports the sharing of information.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherMedical Deans Australia and New Zealand
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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