Induction and cultural orientation

As an employer, you’re expected to help your newly arrived Overseas Trained Doctor (OTD) settle into their position and into the community.

Community welcome

A community that provides a warm welcome to an OTD is much more likely to keep that doctor for the long haul. Encouraging the community to be actively involved may be key to maintaining medical services in your community.

Suggested activities:
  • Assign people to act as social mentors to introduce the doctor into the community. Remember to factor their family into your social mentoring program too!
  • Provide a welcome pack . It could contain local information like:
    • taxi numbers
    • locations and opening times of banks, libraries, schools, churches
    • late night shopping hours
    • rubbish collection times
    • local restaurants and takeaway menus and so on.
  • Organise a welcome event. Help the doctor set up a social network that meets their interests and needs.
Privacy can be an issue for doctors in smaller communities. Be welcoming, but also try to be sensitive to the needs of the doctor (and family) and let them have some time and space to themselves.

Induction and workplace orientation

Workplace orientation enables doctors to work safely and with confidence in their new position. In addition, the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) requires all OTDs who are granted limited or provisional registration, to submit a report, following three months practice, to confirm that they have been orientated appropriately. It’s worth putting together an orientation handbook for your OTD if you don’t already have one.

Subjects covered typically include information like:
  • administrative structure of the practice
  • personnel issues
  • ordering of supplies
  • policies affecting emergency procedures
  • professional conduct
  • clinical protocols
  • demonstrations on the use of unfamiliar equipment
  • an overview of professional resources and services.
Contact your local Division of General Practice, Medicare Local or Rural Workforce Agency to find out how they can help you with the orientation process and, if your OTD/position is eligible, whether funding’s available to you.

RWAs – more information and links
National Divisions of General Practice
Medicare Locals – more information

Australian healthcare system orientation

Orientation to the Australian healthcare system needs to include comprehensive information on the Medicare system and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Familiarity with Australian drug names is also an important and sometimes overlooked part of this process. Even common drugs, such as paracetamol, are known by other names in some countries.

Australian medical expressions

For advice on available healthcare orientation courses:

RWAs – more information and links
National Divisions of General Practice
Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils
Medicare Locals – more information

Cultural awareness training

We’ve put together some resources for formal and informal cultural awareness training for OTDs.
You can also contact your local Rural Workforce Agency, Division of General Practice or Medicare Local for advice on available training and/or funding.

Cultural awareness training resources
RWAs – more information and links
National Divisions of General Practice
Medicare Locals – more information