The following diagram provides an overview of typical career pathways for medical officers working in Queensland Health. It does not reflect the award structure and may vary from facility to facility.

Further explanation of the roles is provided below.

A diagram of the typical career structure for medical officers showing the progression from resident medical officer roles through the principal house officer and registrar stages, and the pathways available for visiting medical officers and senior medical officers.

Please be advised that the above diagram is reflective of the practical structure you work in, this does not reflect the Queensland Health industrial relations awards structure. The diagram is a general reflection and may vary depending on circumstance.

Resident Medical Officers (RMO)

  • Intern - means a medical practitioner who holds a practicing certificate from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency authorising an appointment as such under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009. Interns are medical graduates who have been accepted into an intern training program under the supervision of their employing hospital. Generally, this will be the 1st year of practise following completion of a medical degree. In this year they must successfully complete various rotations under clinical supervision. Queensland Health is currently the sole provider of intern training in Queensland.
  • Junior House Officer (JHO) - 2nd post graduate year. A JHO is a medical practitioner in their first year of service after eligibility for full registration as a medical practitioner.
  • Senior House Officer (SHO) - 3rd post graduate year. A SHO is a medical practitioner in the second or subsequent years of practical experience after eligibility for full registration as a medical practitioner and who has not been appointed as a Registrar or Principal House Officer.

These resident medical officers work in teams led by senior medical staff and may be further supported by Registrars in specific clinical specialties.

  • Principal House Officer (PHO) - 3rd and subsequent post graduate years. A PHO is a medical practitioner appointed as such who is not undertaking an accredited course of study leading to a higher medical qualification. A PHO position is an equivalent level to Registrar.
  • Registrars - means a medical practitioner appointed as such who is undertaking an accredited course of study leading to a higher medical qualification.
  • Senior Registrar - means a medical practitioner appointed as such who has specialist registration with the Medical Board of Australia and is undertaking an accredited course of study leading to a higher medical qualification.
  • Provisional Fellowship Year (PFY) - means a Registrar who has finished training and is required to do a Fellowship Year before they can get specialist registration (a requirement of some Colleges). It can also be a personal choice to undertake a PFY.

All of the above medical staff are employed on 12 month temporary contracts and must apply for positions on an annual basis through the RMO Campaign.

View the positions available at participating facilities.

Senior Medical Officers (SMOs)

Senior medical officers (SMOs) include:

  • general practitioners
  • staff specialists
  • career hospital doctors.

SMOs can be appointed to work:

  • generally (non-specialist) - individuals who are not qualified in a specialty but working in a specialty under the supervision of a specialist.
  • in a staff grade position - individuals who may be qualified in another medical jurisdiction (formerly legislated as a deemed specialist). International medical graduates maintain the title of staff grade position until fellowship is conferred by the relevant Australian specialty college.

Some of the main roles include:

  • International medical graduates (IMGs) offered a staff grade position (formerly registered as a deemed specialist) must obtain registration through the Medical Board of Australia. Prior to applying for registration with the Medical Board of Australia support must be provided from the relevant Australian specialty college using the Australian Medical Council overseas trained specialist assessment pathway.
  • Clinical managers and medical managers are SMOs who receive an allowance for undertaking clinical or medical management responsibilities.
  • Medical officers/Medical superintendents with right of private practice (MORPP / MSRPP) are medical practitioners employed by Queensland Health who work in smaller rural hospitals. They provided services to the hospital as well as private general practice services in the town. Private practice arrangements for MSRPP/MORPP are to be negotiated and agreed in writing at the local level.
  • Visiting Medical Officers (VMO's) are specialists that have their own private practice or general practitioners who choose to consult within public and private hospitals on a part time basis. Read more about Visiting Medical Officers.

Last updated: November 2023