Objective: To assess communication skills of interns practising in New South Wales hospitals.
Methods: Comparisons were made between five groups of interns: those who graduated from the three New South Wales universities (Newcastle, Sydney and NSW); foreign medical graduates; and those from New Zealand and interstate. Subjects were assessed up to five times during the intern year; a supervisor rating scale was used.
Results: Newcastle graduates were rated more favourably, and foreign graduates less favourably, than graduates from other medical schools. In addition, women were rated better than men, and younger interns better than older interns.
Conclusions: The data suggest deficits in communication skills of foreign medical graduates, and support the medical education approach at Newcastle medical school, which emphasises communication skills.