Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Doing an internship

is tough and doing a medical internship is perhaps the toughest of all.
One of my nephews is doing a legal internship at present. He is working sixty to seventy hours each week. He is being used to do the hard work on an appeal case which, if won, will be a feather in the cap of the barrister he is working for. It is unlikely my nephew will get more than a cursory thanks. He just has to hope that someone will be impressed enough to employ him. It is a problem with internships.
Another of my nephews is doing his medical internship this year. He has been working eighty, ninety and even one hundred hours a week. The hours are ridiculous and the responsibilities are huge. He finally had a weekend off and came to see the Senior Cat for an hour yesterday. I supplied sympathy and something for the headache.
He has been on an orthopaedic surgery rotation - and not seen a single operation.  His next rotation will be in another area of surgery - paediatric surgery.
"But there is all the paper work before I leave this rotation," he told me.
I sympathised again. I know what he means by paper work. The number of forms to fill out - in duplicate, triplicate and more-plicate is unbelievable. Even I spend far too much time filling out forms and putting in unnecessary information that nobody is going to use or even care about.
So it was with interest that I read a short piece in this morning's paper in which it said research had estimated that Australian scientists had, combined, wasted 500 years of research time filling out forms last year. Five hundred years? It does not seem possible. What a waste of time!
Much of the form filling seems to be designed by bureaucrats in order to keep themselves occupied. And no, often they do not need it.
I was asked to look at a proposed form recently. It had been designed by a bureaucrat somewhere and sent to me for comment and, if necessary, modification. The form ran to almost three pages. I reduced it to one. It contained all the information that the three page document had asked for. It could also be filled in by ticking boxes or writing in numbers.
I sent it back and have not heard a word. My guess is that the three page document is the one which will be used. There are people who like forms. They like to make life for internees difficult. They like to waste the time of scientists - and others.
I wonder why I bothered but, perhaps, somewhere there might be someone who will see it and design a form that takes five minutes to fill in instead of fifteen. That will be another ten minutes of research or care.


Helen Devries said...

We used to devil for our pupil masters....but there was a relationship and the expectation was that you would be accepted for a seat in chambers as long as you could do a competent job.

I suspect that modern internship is just exploitation....and heartily agree with you about forms and their purpose.

catdownunder said...

I'd forgotten that expression Helen! Yes, different now I suspect. It's his second placement - first placement he was left in charge while the person who was supposed to be supervising him went off for a couple of days.
He couldn't actually sign anything off because he is not yet on the roll but he seemed to cope... makes me wonder just what his so-called supervisor actually does all day!