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20.10.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2019

Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) 3/2019

Introduction of an academic internship in Ireland: views of undergraduate medical students

Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) > Ausgabe 3/2019
Elaine Burke, Mary Teeling, Martina Hennessy



A combined academic and clinical training programme for junior doctors in Ireland, the academic track for internship, has recently been launched. The academic track offers newly graduated doctors protected time within the working week to undertake a research project in addition to funding, an academic supervisor, and additional training in research skills. This study seeks to investigate the views of undergraduate medical students.


The study population was undergraduate medical students at Trinity College Dublin in their penultimate year of study. An online questionnaire was designed and disseminated via a gatekeeper. Descriptive statistics were used to carry out data analysis on students’ responses.


The response rate was 50/203 (24.6%). All respondents indicated that protected time would be ‘very important’ or ‘important’. The most frequently cited reason for participating in the academic track was ‘To progress my career in a particular specialty’ (28/42). The most frequently cited anticipated achievement was research publication (39/42). The most common response when asked what concerns (if any) students had about participating in the programme was ‘I am not sure I could achieve all the clinical competencies of an intern in addition to research’ (58%).


There was a significant interest in the academic track for internship, and it is perceived by students as being of benefit to their careers. The value of protected time and an academic supervisor were recognised, and a research publication was the most frequently cited anticipated outcome. The data gathered in this questionnaire will help inform curriculum development and the identification of suitable learning outcomes.

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