Background: Few studies assess the transition from medical student to intern and there is limited understanding of what measures are required to assist intern development. The aim of the study was to assess interns' perception of their preparedness before commencing and on completion of their rotation in General Medicine, and their attitudes towards educational experiences at a tertiary metropolitan teaching hospital.
Methods: Self-assessed preparedness for the General Medical internship and educational experiences were evaluated using a quantitative 5-point scale (1 = low score and 5 = high score) and qualitatively through interview, on interns based at St Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne). Data were collected at the beginning and at the end of each 10-week rotation (n = 25).
Results: Before commencement of the rotation, the interns identified areas where they felt inadequately prepared, particularly resuscitation skills and medico-legal aspects. When resurveyed at the completion of their 10-week rotation, the interns felt they had been better prepared for their role than they initially perceived, both generally and in specific aspects. Nine out of 16 parameters showed a significant increase in preparedness score at week 10 compared to week 1. The educational experiences most valued were peer driven education sessions and informal registrar teaching. Formal consultant teaching and online learning were perceived as being the least useful.
Conclusion: Interns at St Vincent's Hospital have been adequately prepared for their role in General Medicine, although many realize this only in retrospect. Deficiencies in educational opportunities for interns have been uncovered that emphasize areas of attention for medical educators.