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You're on holidays! We get it, but unfortunately there's some things you'll need to do and think about before 18th January 2021, when orientation starts.

The act of transitioning from student to doctor, with all the real-world responsibilities that come with that, is simultaneously exiting, challenging and terrifying. You might find that thinking before-hand about some of the things below helps with some of those feelings. If you explore a little further, you'll find a whole host of useful orientation material in the adjacent web pages.

If this raises any questions or you're not sure what's expected, you're welcome to e-mail me (Dr Andrew Baker, DPET) at, or ring me on 0419281024. 

Medical Registration

By now you should have applied for medical registration. As you know, Interns are only eligible for provisional registration and can apply for general registration after satisfactorily completing 12 months, including at least one medical, one surgical and one ED term. For further information about registration and an application form, visit the Medical Board of Australia.

It is worth emphasising that medical registration is YOUR responsibility and no one else's. This will be the case for the rest of your medical career, it never happens automatically. If at any stage your registration lapses, even for the most mundane of administrative reasons, you are legally not entitled to practice. If this were ever to happen, the hospital has no choice but to stand you down without pay.

Every year at least one Intern manages to make it to orientation week without medical registration finalised, usually due to a failure to submit the right paperwork. If you are still unregistered by 1st February 2021, you will not be able to work. This is a BAD way to start the year. So if AHPRA is chasing you for outstanding documentation, please do not ignore their request.

Provider and Prescriber Numbers

All new Interns are required to apply for both a Medicare provider number and a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescriber number. As Interns, a situation in which you will need either of these does not occur frequently, but it is frustrating if you don't have them when you need them.

Medicate Provider Number
A provider number entitles doctors to charge services to Medicare and to refer to other practitioners. As an Intern, you are not allowed to bill Medicare, but there are circumstances where you may need to write referrals. Provider numbers are site-specific, so you will need to apply for a new one for each new hospital you work at.

PBS Prescriber Number
A prescriber number allows you to prescribe medications on the PBS. Most of your prescribing will be done in the hospital which does not involve use of the PBS, excepting in rare circumstances. On occasions, you may be required to write an outside PBS script, especially from ED. You can apply for a prescriber number on the same application form as a provider number.

Apply for a provider and prescriber number.



Early access to "My Health Learning" available now

All NSW Health Employee are expected to complete Mandatory e-learning, which is done online through the “My Health Learning” Website. This site hosts both e-learning modules (the mandatory courses and much more) and also maintains your own personal record of e-learning, as well as face-to-face learning, the record of which will be retained throughout your public hospital employment.

As new interns you will be able to access My Health Learning in the near future. All you need is a login (which is your 8 digit employee number) and a password. You will need to obtain your password by ringing the statewide service desk, on 1300 28 55 33, explaining that you are a new intern about to start next year, quoting your employee number and asking for your password to be set. If you do not yet know your employee number, it will be sent to you in the near future and burned into your brain thereafter as the login to almost every IT system that you need while working at the hospital.

When you first log in and look at My Current Learning, it should display all of the modules which you are expected to complete. All interns will be allocated time after commencing to complete your mandatory online training, though it will be to your advantage to work through this as soon as you can.

Download more detailed information about expectations of My Health Learning here.

Medical Orientation Online- Browse before you start

You've found you way to this site already, so you must be aware that it contains orientation information specific to Interns. Look a little further afield and you'll find more generic medical officer orientation covering our computer systems, how to get paid, finding your way around, JMO Welfare, the RSU and more.

And of course, don't forget to download the app.

HETI JMO Orientation Online- Browse before you start

Another source of online orientation material is HETI. They have a number of resources which you can find on the HETI website.  In particular, it is worth looking through the Doctors Compass which, although is a generic document, has been written by people who know what they are talking about and has plenty of good advice for new interns.


TERM DESCRIPTION AND ROVER FORMS - Look for this Term 1 orientation material
Every term has a formal, HETI-approved Term Description which gives you some information about the term. Usually there is also a Rover form, which is a wiki-type document created and maintained by the JMOs themselves. These vary in quality - depending on the effort of the JMOs who have come before you - although there has been a concerted effort to improve these in recent months. They have the potential to be extremely useful handover resources. You should look up your Term Description and Rover for Term 1, although don't forget you will have a whole week buddying with the outgoing JMO to learn all the tricks of the trade. Links to these documents are found below:

Term descriptions
Rover forms

Time Commitments During Orientation - Prepare beforehand

You probably need to start thinking now about your comings and goings during the Orientation Fortnight.

The official start date is Monday 20th Jan, but we have a purely voluntary social mixer beforehand on the afternoon of Friday 17th. Starting at 12:30pm, we'll provide some lunch, some fun activities, a race around the hospital, and plenty of time for you to make new friends with your colleagues outside of the pressured environment of the following week.

The following week will be full on - 8am - 5pm (ish) each day - and although there are generous breaks (when we provide plenty of food), there are also activities during the breaks, so you'll find there's not much time to relax. In the early part of Tuesday evening, there will be a Pizza & Trivia night. This is obviously optional, but it's always fun and well-attended.

From then on, the following week is buddy week - most of the time will be spent buddying up with the outgoing JMOs on the wards. Don't forget that Monday 27th Jan is the Australia Day Public Holiday, so you wont need to come in.

Do not assume this buddy week will be all routine Mon-Fri days. For some of you there will be out-of-hours sessions:
  • If Term 1 for you is on the wards at Westmead, then you'll buddy up with the JMO assigned to your position in the last week of term 5. Remember that for most terms, the JMO starts at 8am or earlier. In Cardiology it is 7:30am and in Surgery it is 7am, or earlier. During buddy week, we don't want you staying at the hospital for more than 8 hours per day, but we do want you to start at the same time as your buddy as this is the most productive time of the day.
  • If Term 1 for you is in ED, you will attend ED Orientation on the morning of Friday 24th Jan and then be allocated to a further three 10 hour shifts over the next 9 days, which may involve evenings or a weekend.
  • If Term 1 for you is relief, you will be allocated to at least two, and possibly more, after-hours wards shifts in the evening or weekend (or possibly on Australia Day). Some of you may be allocated to nights. You will be asked in advance about your availability, so you should be thinking about this now.
  • If Term 1 for you is on secondment, you will commence at your secondment hospital at 8am on Tuesday 28th Jan.
      Your first term starts for real in the first week after buddy week (i.e. from 2nd Feb). Your after-hours roster for the whole term will be rostered by, and sent out to you by RSU - usually by mid-January. If you were not exposed to an after-hours shift during buddy week, then your very first after-hours shift there-after will always be as a supernumerary, with an after-hours buddy.


You will want to think about your transport options during orientation week. Parking is not cheap and train/bus access is very good.

Parking costs $23.60/week and if you want to use the on-site parking, you need to complete a form authorising deductions from your pay. If you are going to Coffs Harbour for Term 1, there may be a good argument for public transport in Week 1 of orientation, otherwise you will need to organise payment for just one week on the first day of orientation.

If you intend to pay for parking in term 1, you should notify Lauren McGroder at, and this will be communicated to Secure Parking (the private company that runs our parking service), who will ensure this is linked to your security badge.

Red Resident Program

Every year we run a mentoring program for our new junior doctors. Groups of around three to four Interns are matched with a pair of RMO mentors, with the aim of easing the transition into Internship. You can expect your mentors to meet with you regularly and offer clinical and emotional support. In short, they will do their best to look after you, particularly in those frightening first weeks and hopefully much longer than this.

At Westmead, like many other hospitals, we have adopted the 'Red Resident' branding. This means that our mentors will be wearing red lanyards with the intent of improving visibility and letting all Interns know that this person has agreed to be approached by any Intern, not just the few who have been assigned as mentees.

Participation as a new Intern in the program is voluntary, but operates on an opt-out basis. That is, you will need to let us know if you do not want to participate, otherwise we will provide your mentor with your contact details and you can expect them to reach out before orientation begins.

Pre-Vocational Liaison Council

The hospital has instituted a Pre-Vocational Liaison Council comprised of PGY1 and 2 representatives. We are aiming to add 10 new Interns to the group in 2021 in place of the outgoing RMO council members. These representatives will be a focus for communication between the administration and the larger pre-vocational cohort. They will be passing on information from the interns and RMOs they are representing, and also seeking input from JMOs at the request of admin. Most importantly they will be problems solvers, trying to make the life of the pre-vocational trainees a bit better.

Pre-vocational liaison council representative need to have skills in advocacy, problem solving and leadership. This will require a regular commitment, attending the monthly Pre-vocational Clinical Training Committee (PCTC), as well as Prevocational Liaison Council meetings, which will routinely occur between PCTC meetings. Representatives may wish to pursue special interest within their broader representative role - typically focusing around broad topics such as patient safety and quality, education, IT, JMO welfare, rostering and working conditions etc.

One Intern and one RMO from the JMO Liaison Council will be nominated as the HETI JMO forum representative. This is a statewide forum which brings together Pre-Vocational Trainees from each hospital to meet and discuss issues relevant to prevocational supervision, training, recruitment, accreditation, workforce allocation and welfare.

Anyone can put up their hand for Pre-Vocational Liaison Council. The successful candidate often has a background in medical student organisation and or advocacy, though this is not essential. More important is a desire to work within the system to try to improve it. You'll find more information in the "Getting Involved " section and reminders about this will be sent out in the future when nominations are formally called for. iIn the meantime if you have any questions you can talk to Dr Baker. Alternatively you are welcome to contact our current representatives whose details can be provided on request from Dr Baker ( or Lauren McGroder (

Other information about the JMO Forum can be downloaded below:

Ordering Scrubs for Term 1

Scrubs are not mandatory for doctors and therefore not provided free-of-charge by the hospital. However, doctors assigned to ED and after-hours shifts (especially during your relief term) tend to prefer them. These are also entirely appropriate, though not required, in surgical terms. The Westmead ED scrubs tend to be considered the most fashionable and can be ordered via Infectious - Medical Scrubs Australia.   Reasonably priced uniforms can also be purchased through the government supplier, Total Apparel Management System (TAMS), which can only be accessed via the intranet


This is a great time to be looking out for the information you'll need when you start. There is an abundance of quality Free Open Access Medical (FOAM) information these days. Four examples are provided below, but why not start developing your own go-to list now?:
  • Life in the Fast Lane: One of the original and best FOAM sites. Look out for its fantastic ECG library.
  • CIAP: A NSW Health initiative to put as much medical information at your fingertips as possible. Its biggest drawback is that it contains so much information that people don't know how to fully utilise it. The Westmead librarians would love to give you personal tuition on its use. 
  • onthewards: Originally started by the RPAH DPET, onthewards is now a statewide resource that has a great section of Tips for Interns.
  • The Westmead Medical Library: Amazing resources and unlimited availability. Why not drop in before you start and familiarise yourself with it. The staff can get you free smartphone access to Up to Date, Clinical Key, My Athens and Endnote, or help with downloading resources from CIAP, such as MIMs.  

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