Resident medical officer

What they do

A resident medical officer is a medical practitioner who works for public hospitals to gain clinical experience after their first year internship. They work under the supervision of medical professionals to diagnose, treat and prevent chronic and life-threatening diseases and injuries.

Most doctors spend two to three years working as a resident in different hospital departments, before beginning specialist training.

Working conditions

Resident medical officers work in hospital departments where they may give patients intravenous fluids, request diagnostic investigations, and prescribe and monitor medications for patients on their ward. They may be required to wear safety clothing and must ensure that their instruments are kept sterile.

Resident medical officers usually work long shifts, odd hours and weekends. They work in various departments in hospitals around the State, usually on a rotation basis.

Tools and technologies

Resident medical officers may use instruments such as stethoscopes, thermometers, defibrillators and electrocardiogram machines. They also administer injections, perform catheter insertions and apply plaster casts. They wear sterile gloves, masks, caps and gowns when performing procedures. They regularly use computers to maintain client records and consult pharmaceutical manuals, and use pagers when on duty.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a resident medical officer, you must first become a qualified medical doctor.

To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.

Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

On completion of the medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for one year (internship) to gain general registration as a medical doctor with the Medical Board of Australia. Once registered as a medical doctor, you must apply to the Postgraduate Medical Council of Western Australia for a registered medical officer position in the Western Australian Health Service.

As a resident medical officer, you may choose to train in a field that is related to a specialisation in which you wish to work, for example, emergency medicine or paediatrics, or you may choose to rotate through several fields of medicine before you decide on a specialist field.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a resident medical officer in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia. You must also obtain registration from the Postgraduate Medical Council of Western Australia.