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?
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.
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.
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.