Clinical training in NL
Our ‘internships’ aren’t the same as the American internships so I’ll try to explain it.
First of all, medical education consists of a bachelor (BSc, 3 years) and a master part (MSc, 3 years), though those terms don’t mean much apart from the fact that we’re being good and adhering to the Bologna process.
To gain clinical experience, basically we have ‘stages‘ which are internships in the common sense (getting work experience). These are usually very short (4 weeks). Our university has a nursing internship of 4 weeks in the first year and a primary care internship in the second year. Yes, I can really tell a lot of stories about those 8 weeks! I wonder what will happen when I get to the ‘real deal’…
Starting in year 4, we have ‘coschappen‘, which are probably comparable to rotations or clerkships. In Master Year One we won’t work really independently and the focus is on gaining the skills and experience necessary to progress to Master Year Two and Three and culminating in the ‘semi arts-stage‘ (really confusing nomenclature…) which lasts about 16 weeks and is probably comparable to the ‘real’ internship, where you basically work as a ‘junior resident’.
(update 2016) After med school most people don’t start their specialty training right away for various reasons: mismatch of supply/demand for specialty training places (there are more graduates than training spots and they like candidates with some work experience) or maybe you just want to work for a while to see which field you like best. So there are various options: you can work as a house officer (same workload as a resident but more vacation days and more strict working hours), you can do a PhD if you like research or you can do ‘non traditional’ doctor work – e.g. monitoring anticoagulant doses etc.