Risk factors at medical school for subsequent professional misconduct
What were the key findings?
We commissioned a multi-centre, case-control study led by Nottingham University to investigate whether there is a link between proven professional misconduct, years after graduation, and doctor's undergraduate career.
This builds upon findings from a pilot study which suggested doctors who had proven professional misconduct had experienced undergraduate difficulties. The team examined enquiries about doctors who had graduated from eight different medical schools. The enquiries were between 1999 and 2004 and controls chosen at random from their graduation cohorts at medical school.
Findings suggest that factors such as being male, coming from a lower socioeconomic background, and having failed early course examinations were independent predictors of later professional misconduct. This suggested that pastoral care should be the target to provide extra support to these students. And to explore attitudinal as well as academic aspects of failure.
The interpretations of the findings from this study should taken with caution as the numbers were small. There is a need for larger scale investigations in order for these findings to be applied more generally.