An intern is a medical school graduate in training to become a physician. Internships run for a period of one year and are all hospital positions. Interns are not yet licensed physicians and are not entitled to practice medicine except under the supervision of a licensed doctor. Although they are usually under the nominal supervision of a senior physician, they spend much of their time working with residents - new physicians in training for a speciality. However, interns rotate through an entire series of specialities in order to get basic training in all medical disciplines. A person who completes an internship and meets any other qualifications becomes a licensed physician and is qualified in general medicine. Doctors who complete an internship may go into private practice or may seek out a residency position of their own to qualify for a specialty.
Interns are now assigned to hospitals through a complicated matching process where both hospitals and prospective interns rank their preferences. They are then offered positions based on how they finish. Interns who are not offered a position then have to literally scramble for the unfilled positions. Generally, there are internship positions available for all medical graduates in the United States, plus an extra number slotted for students who graduated from an accredited medical school in another country.