Internal Medicine Training (IMT) applications are fast approaching, so it is time to start thinking about your IMT application! Due to the pandemic the process for 2022 recruitment is subject to change, so make sure you keep a close eye on the IMT recruitment website.
The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted internal medicine training applications for 2021, with no round 2 applications run in the second part of the year. This means there are likely to be more vacancies for 2022 IMT recruitment, so time to start thinking about what job you want and where you want it!
IMT applications are run through Oriel and it is worth setting up an account before it opens so you receive updates and don’t miss the date. The application period lasts for around a month; but its best to start your application early as it can take a bit of time to complete the whole thing.
It’s worth familiarising yourself with the timetable for internal medicine training recruitment. It is not yet published for the 2022 year and we will release it when it is, but read through the 2021 timetable to get an understanding of typical dates to be aware of and the layout of the process.
Further information on these dates can be found here on IMT recruitment page.
Due to the effects of the pandemic and issues with social distancing, IMT interviews were scheduled to be held via an online platform, Microsoft Teams. It is worth familiarising yourself with how this works prior to your interview, you can create a free account on Microsoft teams using your NHS webmail.
The IMT application is split into several sections, but these can basically be split into the eligibility section and the evidence section (this is where you score your points).
What is the eligibility section of your IMT application?
This is essentially your right to work in a training program in the UK. If you are applying from overseas, you will need evidence of your visa status.
In this section you will have to show that you have completed FY2 or are currently training as an FY2. Again, if you are applying from overseas you will need to show your equivalent training completion.
You will need details of your Degree and your GMC registration – these should then be stored in your IMT eligibility folder.
Finally, you will need to provide a list of each place you have worked and the level of each rotation. This is the time laborious bit! Once this is all entered you will then need to provide three referees. These referees are simply to confirm that you are a doctor who has no training concerns. One must be your current educational supervisor or equivalent and the other two you can choose.
All of this information can take time to put together so get it sorted now and you’ll breeze through the application process, giving you more time to prepare for the actual interview. We’ve prepared the Internal Medicine Training Interview Question Bank to help you with that.
How important is the evidence section of your IMT application?
This is the bit of your IMT application that counts, and where the score for your shortlisting comes from. Everything that you include in your IMT application you should have evidence for. That’s easy when it comes to a paper you have written or a poster you have presented but can get harder when you are asked to show evidence for teaching that you have done or a leadership course you have attended. Certificates are obviously a good source of evidence, so make sure you collect them after each course and keep them safe. Letters, written and signed by a consultant, are also a good form of evidence, particularly for those harder to prove things – for example setting up a ward based teaching program, or leadership experience. The main thing is that you think about these things early and get them in place.
How is my IMT application score decided?
- Undergraduate. This relates to whether you have another degree obtained before or during your medical degree. The scoring is straightforward and relates to your final mark. Make sure you have your degree certificate in your portfolio!
- Postgraduate: Again, straight forward, and you either score here or you don’t (don’t worry if you don’t – it’s definitely not essential and you’ll claw back the marks later on). MRCP(UK) does not count in this section.
- Prizes/Awards: This relates to awards and prizes obtained during medical school or after graduating. It also includes people who received honours for their medical degree. Now you may think you don’t score here, but it’s definitely worth digging out a copy of your medical degree transcript and looking at all your marks over the five years. If you scored a few merits in a few exams then highlight it and get it in your portfolio – that gets you application points.
- Presentations: This section is separate to Quality Improvement so don’t include posters you have presented for QI projects. If you’re struggling here, now is the time to go and talk to your supervisor about what projects they have coming up and whether you can help with an abstract submission for any conferences on the near horizon. You don’t have to present, but get your name on the poster and you get the application points!
- Publications: You score the most application points for being first author on two or more PubMed cited papers, but points can be picked up for any publications you have been involved with so hang on to them and get them in your portfolio. If you don’t have any then talk to your consultant about writing a case report, as these pick up application points. You could even write a piece for a journal such as a conference review as this still scores. Be prepared to talk about any publications that you include!
- Teaching: The points here are gained for showing that you can develop and deliver your own teaching program, this can be as simple as starting a ward based teaching program for the whole MDT. Start the sessions, collect your feedback (put it in the appendix of your portfolio) and make sure you get a letter from your supervisor or consultant saying what you’ve done to score well. Teaching medical students is good but be the one to create the program and you’ll score the best! Evidence of teaching courses attended is all useful and good to talk about in the ‘Portfolio’ Station.
- Quality Improvement: This section used to be called ‘Audits’; but now it’s QI and getting full marks should be straight forward. You can design a QI project tomorrow – follow the PDSA Methodology and capture two cycles, present it and you’re done. No excuse for not hitting the 10 points on offer! (Remember: Unfortunately you cannot claim a presentation of your quality improvement project in the presentation section of the application form; presentations relating to audits or quality improvement projects must be detailed here as the scoring system is set up to include this)
- Leadership: The points are scored for being a trainee representative on a committee and the number of points on offer goes up depending on the level of the committee. Being on national committees scores the most but of course not everyone can do that! Put your hand up when they ask for local training reps or members for the Junior Doctors Forum and you’ll easily score points here that others won’t! Just remember to get your letter! Evidence of Leadership Development and Management Courses sadly won’t score you points but are good things to include and will be great to talk about.
These 8 topics are what will ultimately make up your IMT application score. Start thinking about them now and where you can pick up easy points.
In previous years, an achievement must have been completed before it can be claimed. However, during the 2021 application round activities which were started, but not possible to be completed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, could be claimed for. For example, if you were due to present a poster at a conference but it was delayed/cancelled because of COVID-19 you could still claim. The guidance for each area of the application specifies where this was the case. It is likely that with the resumption of conferences via online platforms, these requirements will revert as to previous years, so start thinking about what you can present and where now so that by November you’ve got all the points in the bag!
Commitment to Specialty
There is a section at the end of the IMT application form where applicants are encouraged to write a few words discussing their commitment to medicine. In previous years this was only rarely reviewed, and generally discussed as a question in the portfolio stage of the interview. However, due to the cancellation of the interview last year, examiners used this section to award marks to each applicant. Therefore, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY!! Take time to think and write about why you want to apply for internal medicine, what you enjoy, what you want to get out of it, and most importantly, what you can offer to your consultant colleagues that would make them want to choose you (this is ultimately what its all about!).
It is likely that following last year, more attention is paid to this bit of the application compared to previous years. You will also get a section to write about your interests outside of medicine. Again, more attention is likely to be paid to this short section so use it to show what kind of person you are and why you should get a job!
God luck with your internal medicine training application! Check out our blog post on maximising your portfolio points!
Check out all our Internal Medicine Training (IMT) Interview Resources.