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How prepared are UK medical graduates for practice?

 

What were the key findings?

  • The majority of research that has explored how prepared students are for practice has relied on self-reported data. There are many areas of practice where no research has been done in the period covered by the Rapid Review, ie published between 2009 and 2013.

  • Transition interventions (assistantships, shadowing and induction) are particularly important in supporting how prepared students are, but only if used effectively.

  • The August transition is still found to be challenging by many trainees, particularly in terms of the increase in responsibility this brings.

  • Evidence of preparedness is mixed across the outcomes for graduates defined in Tomorrow’s Doctors (2009). For some areas of practice different views of preparedness exist between different key interest groups.

  • The weight of evidence suggest they're prepared in certain areas (eg practical procedures such as venepuncture), evidence of not being prepared in others (eg providing immediate care in medical emergencies, especially when things don’t go according to plan) and areas where the evidence is mixed (eg learning and working effectively in a multidisciplinary team).

  • Trainees generally feel more confident with greater experience but challenging circumstances (eg new specialty, new colleagues, lack of staffing) can make them feel unprepared for situations where they had previously felt confident.

Why did we commission this research?

This research was commissioned as part of a review of the impact of Tomorrow’s Doctors, the document in which we identify the outcomes that UK medical graduates are required to demonstrate. The review was done to help us understand better the current situation and to help us decide if changes are needed to how we regulate.

What did the research involve?

A rapid review was carried out of literature published between 2009 and 2013. Interviews and focus groups were held with recent graduates, trainers, employers and other key interest groups. Longitudinal audio diaries were completed with a sample of trainee doctors.

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How prepared are UK medical graduates for practice?