It’s time to get Scrub’d up! Order now. 

by Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya 


Congratulations! You have survived a year of hell!

My internship got extended by 10 days which made me so annoyed that when the new interns finally came I actually did a small dance in the middle of the ward. So just FYI, your internship can get extended so be prepared. If there is a chance that your internship is going to run on for more than a month I would strongly advice you to talk to your Medical Superintendent/ hospital administration in order to do the extended internship in a new department. You cannot argue with the government, so whilst you slog and slave as an intern for a little while longer, you might as well do it in a new department so that you will gain more experience.

Post-internship you can request for a couple of days off from your hospital administration, but this is not compulsory and there is a chance you may not be given any time off. A few days before you should find out the vacancies available in the hospital for an RHO. Most hospitals use the interns ranking to pick which RHO slot they want. A little piece of advice that I got from my consultants – aim to work in an intensive care unit or in anaesthesia because you may never get another chance. This will probably be taken by the higher ranking interns, however if it is don’t panic! Try and pick a vacancy in a department you have never worked in before because this will expand your skills.


I had artistic control of the paediatric ward 2 as you can see (my consultant had no choice but to go along with it). As you can see I was a smart ass and wrote last 1st on-call thinking I was moving to surgery. How wrong I was! Still 1st on-call!!

I currently work as an RHO in a PBU (Premature Baby Unit)/ NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I initially wanted to be a surgeon and work in the surgical unit as an RHO, but the medical superintendent decided to switch us all around and I ended up moving from surgery to NICU. In hindsight it was the best decision for me even though initially I had a full blown panic attack.

As an RHO you will have way more time off (obviously compared to the 24/7 work hours of an intern). Do something with this time because you will never be this free ever again. Listed below are my top 5 picks to get the most out of your post-intern year!

  • Research

This is the best time to upgrade your CV (blog post coming soon)! As soon as I finished my internship I didn’t waste anytime. I sent all the consultants I worked with during my internship emails asking them to keep me in mind if they have any research projects. It’s a bold move, but if you develop a close relationship with your consultants they will give you plenty of opportunities to better yourself. Research was a priority of mine during internship and I managed to get a few poster/oral presentations done. As an RHO, even though I work in the NICU, one of my surgical consultants still messages me to get involved in research studies and submit abstracts. This has really helped amp up my CV!

  • Decide on your postgraduate

This is a toughie, but it is super important. If you plan on pursuing a postgraduate career, the RHO period is the best time to decide on your career. I would advice scrolling through the many postgrad courses available through the PGIM to find something that would best suit you. It’s not an easy decision, but you really should think about how much you are willing to sacrifice and whether you have met the pre-requisites required.

Unfortunately the PGIM does not let you sit for exams as an RHO (you need to have one year completed post-internship for all the courses). A mentor of mine advised me to just have a look at some of the online courses offered by universities around the world. I have always had an interest in teaching and so I have started an online PGCert in Medical Education. It has definitely made my RHO life a bit more complicated, but I have learnt so much. It is an expensive option, but it will save you a lot of time for future studies.

  • Dabble in private practice

According to the SLMC rules, once you get your permanent registration which will happen a few months post completion of internship, you can start working in private practice. I currently have not started yet because of time constraints and also because I have shift work in the NICU so I can never have regular sessions. However, for the future this is really important. Working as a locum doctor will give you practice in knowing which drugs to prescribe in terms of efficacy and cost effectiveness. Vacancies are best found via word of mouth or social media so keep a look out.

REMEMBER THAT YOU CANNOT DO PRIVATE PRACTICE AS AN INTERN. You must have a permanent registration.

  • Working abroad

Many interns I meet plan on migrating to either the UK or Australia and if you are that is your decision. The RHO period is the best time to revise for these exams (PLAB or AMC) and also to sit for the english requirement examinations (IELTS/TOEFL). Many senior doctors will have study material for the above exams so do ask around and keep an eye out on social media. Before sitting these exams, consider the job scope, the price for the exams and if you would need to fly abroad to actually sit for certain parts of the examination.

  • Get your life back together

Let’s not sugar coat it, intern life is shit. You have no time to do anything for yourself – you may lose weight, but this is purely because you have no time to eat and you’re constantly sleep deprived. So it’s not the healthiest. The day I finished internship, I was 10 kilos lighter, but not the healthiest. So I made a mental decision to get my life back – meaning actually start living my life! I wanted to start getting more fit, to go on more adventures and find a healthy work-life balance. It’s not easy, it’s something I have to work at everyday to find a balance.

Another thing many RHOs do is get married! I never thought I would be one of them, but it turns out I am (SHOCK!). So far 7 of my co-RHOs are getting married during the RHO period because it is basically the only time you will have to actually plan a wedding. All in all, a part of getting your life back!

The RHO period is probably going to be the best year of your medical career. Ideally RHOs should have the least amount of responsibilities (not me though, NICU RHOs are basically MOs – we do the same shifts and have the same amount of work). So enjoy this period! It literally is the calm after the storm that is internship!

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Hi there!

Hi there! Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya is a medical doctor in Sri Lanka, currently training in Family Medicine. Navigating the healthcare system in Sri Lanka is no easy task and this website was created to help guide other foreign medical graduates and junior doctors. This website also helps demystify life as a doctor in Sri Lanka and also combats medical misinformation circulating amongst the general public!