Married medicos Melanie Tolnay and Myles Barnett were among 65 interns who started their training at hospitals across the region on Monday.
The doctors will complete two weeks of orientation, ahead of a 12-month internship where they rotate through different departments and specialties.
Dr Tolnay is taking part in the orientation at Wollongong Hospital alongside her husband, though her internship will be delayed for five months as she takes maternity leave to care for three-week-old Henry.
It’s the second child for the couple, who met during the first week of their Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Wollongong four years ago.
‘’We were engaged by the end of first year; married by the end of second year; had our first child (George, 17 months) by the end of third year and our second child after we completed fourth year,’’ Dr Barnett said.
Dr Tolnay added: ‘’It’s great having the support, and having a partner within the medical profession who can understand the hours and commitment needed.’’
Both are fulfilling childhood ambitions to enter the medical profession; with Dr Tolnay keen to go into general practice and her husband looking at anaesthesiology.
The majority of interns will undertake their placement at Wollongong Hospital, with doctors also starting at Port Kembla, Shellharbour and Shoalhaven hospitals.
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District medical workforce director Andrew Wilson said the interns came from across Australia, although UOW graduates made up 40 per cent.
‘’Growing our own doctors puts the future medical community in good stead – if they’re from the local area, they will more likely want to stay and work here,’’ he said.
‘’This two-week program is about orientating them to the workforce, to the hospitals, and the multi-disciplinary teams that work there. It’s about making them aware of the safety systems and the way the hospitals operate.’’
Mr Wilson said as well as training in emergency, general medicine and surgery, the interns were exposed to a range of speciality areas.
‘’This allows them to better determine what their future career might look like.’’
Anti-bullying was also a major focus of the program, to ensure younger doctors knew their rights and the range of supports available.
Parliamentary secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward said there was a record number of interns this year. ‘’In 2017, 992 interns will start at hospitals around the state – up from 983 in 2016.’’