Vic Management Interns' blog

Blog posts by Victorian Management Interns of the Australasian College of Health Service Management. Views are those of the individual authors and not those of ACHSM or management interns’ host organisations or employers.


HMIP Victoria Management Interns

Settling into a new professional environment


Peta Wright, 1st Year Management Intern, Victoria

A steep learning curve of the internship is settling into new and unfamiliar environments. We start 4 jobs in 2 years, each placement is vastly different and generally involves a role that we have had limited prior experience in. Integrating quickly into new working environments is always challenging and is a skill that needs to be developed like any other. But some simple methods can be utilized to make the transition easier and more effective.

Here are 10 tips to improve success in starting a new position.

1. Remember people’s names

Whether in a professional or social setting, remembering names is always an effective way to make better connections with others, and in turn become more memorable yourself. First days are a whirlwind, as you are rushed around the office, people, faces and positions become a blur. Come up with some ways to help you remember - repeat their name back to them during the conversation, keep a list of names and positions or create a mental association (don’t be afraid to get creative – but maybe just keep these to yourself!). If you forget a name, ask them at the next interaction, people are generally forgiving but let’s just clear the air and save the awkwardness.

2. Ask lots of questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you are the new person so make the most of it! Often, I have asked people questions only to realise that they don’t know the answer because they never asked (and now are afraid to do so). Take the opportunity to find out how everything works while demonstrating that you are proactive rather than passive in the workplace. Use your best judgement to decide when it’s appropriate to ask questions, or when to save them for a better time.

3. Explore

Find your way around. The first few weeks of the internship are usually pretty relaxed (I can’t say the same for all positions) – use this to your advantage and go exploring. Things will get busy and you never know when your familiarity with your surroundings will come in handy.

4. Be friendly

Don’t be afraid to chat to people in the tearoom or join someone for lunch. Going for coffee with members of your team is an easy way to develop professional and social connections. A small chat can go a long way.

5. Get involved

Find out what is on offer and get involved! Whether that be social events, team building, or professional development opportunities. These are great ways to make friends and become more comfortable with your work colleagues.

6. Set up regular meetings with your supervisor

Organising a regular meeting time with your supervisor can be invaluable to keep you motivated and working effectively. This time can be spent evaluating what you have been doing, reviewing future work outcomes, and making sure your expectations are aligned.

7. Make the most of the resources available to you

Read what you can, when you can. Reading is a great way to familiarise yourself with an organisation and gain some background knowledge before you get stuck into work.

8. Do your paperwork

Make sure you complete all necessary paperwork early and if they haven’t sent you any – ASK! Things slip through the cracks, especially in large organisations. Be proactive to ensure administrative requirements are completed early for things like computer access and key cards.

9. Make your desk feel like home

A small plant, photo of a loved one or a sneaky chocolate stash can go a long way in making you feel more comfortable and relaxed at work.

10. Be a sponge

Remember that you are here to learn! Your brain is a sponge, so put it to work soaking up all the great information that will surround you. Put yourself out there, and step outside your comfort zone – go to as many meetings, committees, seminars and trainings as you can.

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