Outcomes for graduates

Outcomes 3 - Professional knowledge

We expect newly qualified doctors to demonstrate their knowledge through scholarly application to the care of patients in practice. Newly qualified doctors must recognise biomedical, psychological and social science principles of health and disease, and integrate and apply scholarly principles to the care of patients. Newly qualified doctors must understand the patient journey through the full range of health and social care settings.

Illustrative figure of a doctor, the sections of each of the 3 outcomes is written above. This section is Outcomes 3 - professional knowledge, and the sections are 'the health service and healthcare systems in the four countries', 'applying biomedical scientific principles', 'applying psychological principles', 'applying social science principles', 'health promotion and illness prevention' and 'clinical research and scholarship'.

The health service and healthcare systems in the four countries

20 Newly qualified doctors must demonstrate how patient care is delivered in the health service.

They must be able to:

  1. Describe and illustrate from their own professional experience the range of settings in which patients receive care, including in the community, in patients' homes and in primary and secondary care provider settings
  2. Explain and illustrate from their own professional experience the importance of integrating patients' care across different settings to ensure person-centred care
  3. Describe emerging trends in settings where care is provided, for example the shift for more care to be delivered in the community rather than in secondary care settings
  4. Describe the relationship between healthcare and social care and how they interact.

21 Newly qualified doctors must recognise that there are differences in healthcare systems across the four nations of the UK and know how to access information about the different systems, including the role of private medical services in the UK.


Applying biomedical scientific principles

22 Newly qualified doctors must be able to apply biomedical scientific principles, methods and knowledge to medical practice and integrate these into patient care. This must include principles and knowledge relating to anatomy, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, genomics and personalised medicine, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, nutrition, pathology, pharmacology and clinical pharmacology, and physiology.

They must be able to:

  1. Explain how normal human structure and function and physiological processes applies, including at the extremes of age, in children and young people and during pregnancy and childbirth
  2. Explain the relevant scientific processes underlying common and important disease processes
  3. Justify, through an explanation of the underlying fundamental principles and clinical reasoning, the selection of appropriate investigations for common clinical conditions and diseases
  4. Select appropriate forms of management for common diseases, and ways of preventing common diseases, and explain their modes of action and their risks from first principles
  5. Describe medications and medication actions: therapeutics and pharmacokinetics; medication side effects and interactions, including for multiple treatments, long term physical and mental conditions and non-prescribed drugs; the role of pharmacogenomics and antimicrobial stewardship
  6. Analyse clinical phenomena and conduct appropriate critical appraisal and analysis of clinical data, and explain clinical reasoning in action and how they formulate a differential diagnosis and management plan.

Applying psychological principles

23 Newly qualified doctors must explain and illustrate by professional experience the principles for the identification, safe management and referral of patients with mental health conditions.

They must be able to:

  1. Describe and illustrate from examples the spectrum of normal human behaviour at an individual level
  2. Integrate psychological concepts of health, illness and disease into patient care and apply theoretical frameworks of psychology to explain the varied responses of individuals, groups and societies to disease
  3. Explain the relationship between psychological and medical conditions and how psychological factors impact on risk and treatment outcome
  4. Describe the impact of patients' behaviours on treatment and care and how these are influenced by psychological factors
  5. Describe how patients adapt to major life changes, such as bereavement, and the adjustments that might occur in these situations
  6. Identify appropriate strategies for managing patients with substance misuse or risk of self-harm or suicide
  7. Explain how psychological aspects of behaviour, such as response to error, can influence behaviour in the workplace in a way that can affect health and safety and apply this understanding to their personal behaviours and those of colleagues.

Applying social science principles

24 Newly qualified doctors must be able to apply social science principles, methods and knowledge to medical practice and integrate these into patient care.

They must be able to:

  1. Recognise how society influences and determines the behaviour of individuals and groups and apply this to the care of patients
  2. Review the sociological concepts of health, illness and disease and apply these to the care of patients
  3. Apply theoretical frameworks of sociology to explain the varied responses of individuals, groups and societies to disease
  4. Recognise sociological factors that contribute to illness, the course of the disease and the success of treatment and apply these to the care of patients - including issues relating to health inequalities and the social determinants of health, the links between occupation and health, and the effects of poverty and affluence
  5. Explain the sociological aspects of behavioural change and treatment concordance and compliance, and apply these models to the care of patients as part of person-centred decision making.

Health promotion and illness prevention

25 Newly qualified doctors must be able to apply the principles, methods and knowledge of population health and the improvement of health and sustainable healthcare to medical practice.

They must be able to:

  1. Explain the concept of wellness or wellbeing as well as illness, and be able to help and empower people to achieve the best health possible, including promoting lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, avoiding substance misuse and maintaining a healthy weight through physical activity and diet
  2. Describe the health of a population using basic epidemiological techniques and measurements
  3. Evaluate the environmental, social, behavioural and cultural factors which influence health and disease in different populations
  4. Assess, by taking a history, the environmental, social, psychological, behavioural and cultural factors influencing a patient's presentation, and identify options to address these, including advocacy for those who are disempowered
  5. Apply epidemiological data to manage healthcare for the individual and the community and evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of interventions
  6. Outline the principles underlying the development of health, health service policy, and clinical guidelines, including principles of health economics, equity, and sustainable healthcare
  7. Apply the principles of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of disease, including immunisation and screening
  8. Evaluate the role of ecological, environmental and occupational hazards in ill-health and discuss ways to mitigate their effects
  9. Apply the basic principles of communicable disease control in hospital and community settings, including disease surveillance
  10. Discuss the role and impact of nutrition to the health of individual patients and societies
  11. Evaluate the determinants of health and disease and variations in healthcare delivery and medical practice from a global perspective and explain the impact that global changes may have on local health and wellbeing.

Clinical research and scholarship

26 Newly qualified doctors must be able to apply scientific method and approaches to medical research and integrate these with a range of sources of information used to make decisions for care.

They must be able to:

  1. Explain the role and hierarchy of evidence in clinical practice and decision making with patients
  2. Interpret and communicate research evidence in a meaningful way for patients to support them in making informed decisions about treatment and management
  3. Describe the role and value of qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches to scientific enquiry
  4. Interpret common statistical tests used in medical research publications
  5. Critically appraise a range of research information including study design, the results of relevant diagnostic, prognostic and treatment trials, and other qualitative and quantitative studies as reported in the medical and scientific literature.
  6. Formulate simple relevant research questions in biomedical science, psychosocial science or population science, and design appropriate studies or experiments to address the questions
  7. Describe basic principles and ethical implications of research governance including recruitment into trials and research programmes
  8. Describe stratified risk
  9. Describe the concept of personalised medicine to deliver care tailored to the needs of individual patients
  10. Use evidence from large scale public health reviews and other sources of public health data to inform decisions about the care of individual patients.