What happens when a medical intern is fired?

On Scrubs, they show on occasion a medical intern getting canned. I didn’t know this would happen, with the exception of extreme ill-behavior. How can they just fire a medical intern? I thought that an internship is basically part of medical education, and is mandatory. Since it’s sort of educational, how can they be subject to the regular rules of a workplace where you can just get fired at will?

And what happens afterward – do they get to restart their internship elsewhere, or are they banned from practicing medicine?

Well it is a job, they do get paid. A friend’s daughter is currently at Utah State’s medical facility and get’s $45,000ish.

I guess if they are paying you they can quit paying you.

I have to wonder why anyone would assume something seen on a sitcom would be at all representative of reality.

I would think it would be hard to fire them, they should have a contract. And firing them could cause a leagal problem for the hospital

I don’t know whether medical internship employment is usually at will or contract, but if it’s a contract, that just means the firing needs to be in accordance with the terms of the contract, not that it can’t be done.

I never heard of anyone being fired, but I know an intern who quit after 6 weeks. She basically gave up the idea of ever practicing medicine and, IIRC, got a job with an insurance company, evaluating claims.

Scrubs isn’t a documentary?! :confused:

No, you’re thinking if House.

Of course they can be fired. Depending on the circumstance a misdeed might result in anything from suspension to firing to disciplinary action that results in everything from temporary to permanent loss of licensure; from legal actions such as civil torts to criminal penalties. There is no special protection from bad deeds simply because your degree is MD.

It’s just a job, like any other. Certainly the consequences to a career are weighed by administration, and in some ways perhaps it’s a bit harder to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

It’s not unusual to simply lose one’s position within a particular program, without further consequence being specified by the program. You are correct that at least an initial year post-Med School is required for the bare minimum licensure. A single post-grad year would not get you on staff at any Hospital, however, and you would not be eligible for any Board Certification. More typically programs are for 4 to 8 years post-Med School to be eligible for those. At any point in a program you can lose your position.

In general there is a fairly robust review process for the loss of a position mid-year (program commitments are seldom more than a year at a time, even though the informal agreement might be for the duration of the program). Those who do lose their position might be given the opportunity to re-apply; if that is not offered then their choices are to look elsewhere. It would not be unusual for a different (perhaps lesser-quality) program to pick them up; it would all depend on the nature of the dismissal.

I have never seen any television medical shows, so I can’t comment on what happens there.

Even if it is part of your education to be a fully qualified Dr. they can still kick you out, just like colleges kick students out all the time for low grades.

Chief, that was very informative. The mysteries (to me) of medical education and qualification need to be expanded. You did just that!
Thanks! :slight_smile:

I have to wonder why someone would take the time to point this out, because in this particular case the assumption is correct.

While comedy is a farcical parody of reality, it usually has at least some basis in reality. Never hurts to find out exactly where that inspiration comes from.

There was an intern on Scrubs recently who got fired for screwing off. He now has a job as a city bureaucrat on Parks & Recreation. Parks & Recreation will soon be out of business entirely for not being at all funny.

P&R rules. Last week’s episode had a poop fight.

A dog poop fight! And the show is a “Safe bet” to return next year.


People can be fired from jobs, people can be kicked out of school. What made you think a job with educational components would somehow be immune to such things?