​The IMG Clinical Readiness Program frequently asked questions provides information regarding the program which was designed to provide program participants orientation to the NSW Health system  and experience in a clinical setting under supervision in a NSW public hospital.

Last updated: 11 January 2024

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What is the IMG Clinical Readiness Program?

The IMG Clinical Readiness Program (ICRP) is a pilot program which gives International Medical Graduates (IMGs) the opportunity to gain experience  in NSW public hospitals as part of the medical team. The program is designed to provide an orientation to the NSW Health system and experience in a clinical setting under medical supervision.

When does the IMG Clinical Readiness Program start and finish?

The pilot program ran for 12 weeks from 10 July to 29 September 2023. Successful candidates selected into the program participated in the program for the full 12-week period. 

What is involved in the IMG Clinical Readiness Program?

Successful candidates will attend five days of intensive orientation training in Sydney. There will be four days of orientation training at the Local Health District/Specialty Network where the MSO will be undertaking their clinical placement. Following the orientation, there will be 10 weeks of supervised clinical practice which will include participation in ward rounds, taking clinical histories, and undertaking basic clinical exams and procedures.

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Will I get a job upon completion of the program?

Employment is not guaranteed at completion of the program.  At the end of the 12 week program participants should have an understanding of the Australian healthcare system, gained the necessary clinical experience in a NSW public health facility and have a NSW reference to help with future medical officer job applications.

Who is a Medical Support Officer (MSO)?

Medical Support Officers (MSOs) are International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who have been selected to participate in the IMG Clinical Readiness Pilot Program (ICRP).

Is the Medical Support Officer (MSO) a paid position?

No. The MSO role is unpaid and voluntary as part of the IMG Clinical Readiness program.

Is the Medical Support Officer (MSO) a doctor?

No. The MSO role does not require registration with Ahpra, as such the MSO will not be considered a doctor in the position, nor can an MSO call themselves a doctor.

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Who can apply to be a Medical Support Officer (MSO)?

Candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria before applying:

  • must be an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • must have completed a recognised medical degree
  • passed the Australian Medical Council Part 1 exam
  • must not have previously worked in Australia as a Medical Officer
  • passed International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with minimum score of 7 or the OET with a minimum score of B in each of the four components (listening, reading, writing and speaking)
  • evidence of 3 doses of a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised COVID-19 vaccine (in accordance with ATAGI minimum intervals).

How do I apply to be a Medical Support Officer (MSO)?

The opportunity is advertised on IMG Clinical Readiness Program – How to apply. All applicants must review the Role Description and apply by submitting an up-to-date resume and cover letter that addresses the selection criteria. Supporting documentation must be provided with the application including:

  • Australian Citizenship certificate or Permanent Residency (must be certified copy in line with Ahpra policy)
  • Australian Medical Council Computer Adaptive Test (AMC CAT) MCQ Part 1 Examination result or AMC Certificate (must be certified copy in line with Ahpra policy)
  • evidence that meets the Medical Board of Australia English Language Skills registration standard Proof of English language proficiency (must be certified copy in line with Ahpra policy) Passed International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with minimum score of 7 or OET with minimum score of B

The Resume template and document checklist has been developed to assist with applications.

For more information, read IMG Clinical Readiness Program - How to Apply.

Please email MOH-ICRP@health.nsw.gov.au for any queries related to the application process.

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Will there be an interview for the Medical Support Officer (MSO) role?

Yes. The interview will be conducted virtually.

All applications will be assessed and candidates will be notified if you have progressed to interview stage by email.

The interviews will be conducted through an interviewing platform by pre-recorded interview questions and a written task. Candidates will be required to record an interview response and upload videos to the system platform. 

 All information related to the scheduled interviews will be provided in correspondence. Please ensure your contact details including email address and phone number are correct and up to date.

How will I be selected for the Medical Support Officer (MSO) role?

A selection panel will review the interview responses and select the successful candidates into the next stage of the selection process. Candidates will be notified in writing that they are successful for the next stage, this will include the required Working with Children and National Police Check as well as Vaccination and Health check. If all the checks are cleared candidates will be advised they are selected in to the program and will be provided with a formal offer and contract to sign.

Will there be opportunity to select where I do placement?

Yes. Candidates will have the opportunity to preference locations (from those participating in the pilot)  where they would like to undertake their placement. Candidates should only preference locations , that if they are successful, and offered a placement that they would be prepared to accept. Candidates will not be matched to locations that they have not preferenced.  

What will happen if I am successful but allocated to a location I can't accept?

NSW Health will hold a list of a successful candidates and continue to offer placements to vacancies.  If the initial group of successful candidates can't fill the available placements these will be offered to candidates on an eligibility list.

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Will there be a reference check?

Candidates who have been successful at the interview will be asked to provide two written references. References must contain the contact details of the referees.

Is there funding available to participate in the IMG Clinical Readiness Program?

Yes, for candidates based in rural or remote locations there is a $1000 scholarship available to be used to travel to Sydney to attend the five days face-to-face intensive orientation session. Further information will be provided to eligible candidates. 

What is within the scope of practice of a Medical Support Officer (MSO)?

MSOs are not registered medical practitioners in Australia therefore they cannot be referred to as doctors and their scope of practice will be limited. MSOs will work under direct supervision and assist in clinical tasks, including but not limited to:

  • participation in ward rounds
  • performing basic procedures under supervision
  • Taking clinical histories and basic clinical examinations
  • Reviewing/entering notes in the electronic Medical Record (eMR) with a medical practitioner countersignature

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What is not included in the scope of practice of a Medical Support Officer (MSO)?

MSOs are not registered medical practitioners in Australia therefore they cannot refer to themselves as doctors and must not:

  • prescribe fluids/medications
  • order pathology or radiology tests
  • provide a clinical opinion to patients or conduct intimate patient examinations
  • provide any clinical updates/information to patients and families
  • complete any legal documentation, including but not limited to Certification of Death, Medical Certificates, or discharge summaries

What are the clinical placement hours for a Medical Support Officer (MSO)?

MSO will undertake 40 hours per week of clinical placements during business hours. MSOs are not expected to routinely undertake clinical placements  outside of business hours (unless part of the emergency department) and are not permitted to participate in any night shifts.

As an opportunity to gain experience in common afterhours problems, MSOs may be scheduled onto buddied afterhours shifts on evenings or weekends (these can be substituted in place of a regular weekday shift). Alternate shift arrangements must be signed off by the relevant supervisor/Director of Training.

What are the work expectations for a Medical Support Officer (MSO)?

MSO will be supernumerary to the team. They will be working under direct supervision of the medical staff on that team and are expected to adhere to the scope of practice and to all NSW Health and LHD policies.

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What support is provided during the 10 week clinical placement?

Each pilot site will have a Director of Training to support the MSO's placement, assist with education and mentoring, organising the site orientation and a 10-week education program for the MSOs.

What is provided on completion of the ICRP?

On satisfactory completion of the placement, the MSO will receive a structured performance development plan (PDP) to support future learning goals.  

Attendance during the placement is an important component of the success of the placement.

Successful candidates will also receive a certificate of completion.

Are applicants required to have received the COVID-19 vaccination to join the program?

All successful candidates are required to have received three doses of COVID-19 vaccines or have an approved medical contraindication certificate prior to commencing as a MSO.

Who can I contact if I have further questions?

Please contact MOH-ICRP@health.nsw.gov.au should you have any further questions.

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Current as at: Thursday 11 January 2024