Internal Medicine

Registrar Programme

Our Registrar Training Programme


The Division of Medicine offers a four-year programme for the training of specialists in Internal Medicine, leading to Fellowship of the College of Physicians of South Africa and the Master of Medicine in Medicine degree, and registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a specialist physician.

More about these qualifications


Fellowship of the College of Physicians of South Africa

. This is a recognised higher qualification which entitles the graduate to registration with the Health Professions Council as a specialist physician – i.e. a specialist in internal medicine, provided other requirements are met, such as a prescribed length of training in an appropriately accredited institution. All our registrar posts are thus accredited, and therefore all time spent in our posts contributes towards your time requirements. Fellowship is conferred once the candidate has successfully passed the following examinations set by the College of Physicians:

Part 1

This examination, currently comprising two written papers, is directed towards basic medical sciences such as physiology, microbiology and virology.

Part 2

This examination, currently comprising two written papers, an objective test and a clinical patient-centred examination, is directed towards the assessment of clinical knowledge and skills. Two further requirements are the successful completion of a training logbook, and a minimum period of training in an approved institution.


The Master of Medicine in Medicine degree is a masters-level academic qualification conferred by the University of KwaZulu-Natal. To obtain the degree, candidates need to have successfully completed Parts 1 and 2 of the College examinations, to have attended a series of seminars on research skills, and to have successfully completed a research project and submitted a dissertation.

All our registrars who will have completed their 4 years during or after 2012 are expected to have submitted a research project for the MMed degree. Until then it is voluntary, and a number of our registrars are in fact busy with projects towards this degree.

Structure of our training programme

Our programme consists of three components: experiential clinical training, theoretical studies and a research component. Our registrars can expect to remain with us for four years, during which time they will be expected to have completed both the Part 1 and the Part 2 examinations of the College of Medicine. We are currently working towards a more formal inclusion of the MMed degree within the registrar training programme.

Currently we operate two independent registrar circuits: one in Durban (55 posts) and one in Pietermaritzburg (20 posts). Our intention is however to ensure the same excellent standard of training on both circuits, and to maximise the interaction between the two circuits as far as we can.


Clinical Training

During their four years, registrars will rotate through the following clinical attachments in approximately three-month blocks:

General Medicine

Approximately 60% of the total period will be spent in General Medicine. Registrars are assigned to the King Edward VIII, Addington, RK Khan, Prince Mshiyeni and Mahatma Gandhi Hospitals in Durban, whereas those on the Pietermaritzburg circuit will work in the Edendale and Grey’s Hospitals.. Here they cover regular medical intakes, being responsible for the admission and care of medical patients, and for regular outpatient clinics. They are supervised by specialist consultants, and are themselves responsible for the supervision and training of interns, and for the supervision and teaching of medical students assigned to their wards.

Subspecialist Units

For the remainder of the time, registrars rotate through our subspecialist units: cardiology, neurology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, geriatrics, nephrology, and pulmonology and critical care medicine – all based at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital – and and Infectious Diseases, based at King Edward VIII Hospital. During these rotations, registrars are responsible for all aspects of the care of patients with diseases requiring subspecialist care, and are supervised and taught by subspecialists. Registrars on the circuit will be exposed to those subdisciplines offered in Pietermaritzburg and where possible, maybe offered the opportunity of an attachment to one of the subdisciplines in Durban for a limited period.

Academic Education

During both the General Medicine and the Subspecialist Unit attachments, registrars are provided with teaching opportunities provided by their resident unit or hospital, as well as the opportunity to attend Divisional meetings and educational sessions provided at Medical School or Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital. Learning opportunities are provided for our registrars at regular weekly meetings held by the Division and attended by most of the registrar and consultant staff. These include:

  • Grand Rounds (Wednesday). Here our registrars present informative cases to the whole division, which are then discussed. The case presentations are replaced with specialist-presented seminars once per month.
  • Clinical Seminars (Monday mornings). Registrars introduce a discussion having reference to a particular discipline: the discussion is then taken forward by a consultant and thrown open to the floor.
  • Problem Round (Friday). An informal round open to all within the Division, held alternately at King Edward VIII and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospitals. We move as a group to the bedsides of patients with interesting and informative conditions, the registrar presents a brief summary of the case and general discussion follows.
  • Academic afternoon (Wednesday afternoons). All registrars, other than those on call, are expected to attend at Medical School for a programme of tutorials in basic sciences and applied clinical science. We are currently revising the format of these afternoons to maximise their interest and benefit.
  • Monday afternoon clinical teaching. Bedside tutorials are held with discussion appropriate to the Part 2 clinical examination of the FCP.

Parallel meetings are held in Pietermaritzburg for those on the PMB circuit.

Research Component

During their first year of training, registrars will attend a number of seminars on research methodology, following which they will select a research topic. With the help of a supervisor, they will produce a proposal and develop a methodology for their research. During the following two years they will work on their project. Towards the end of the third year, this will be written up into a dissertation and submitted for assessment. We hope that much of this work will be of sufficient standard to merit publication in the international medical literature.


A diverse and equitably distributed registrar body in terms of ethnicity and gender is important to us. In recent years our registrar complement has changed considerably, becoming much more representative of the population we serve. All potential registrars are assured of a warm welcome in our Division.