This survey of house officers in the Northern Health and Social Services Board in Northern Ireland demonstrated that they have complaints not just about the number of hours they work. Thirty-nine per cent noted poor standards of food and/or accommodation. Many complained about doing routine "non-medical" work and thought that their working conditions would be improved by nurses having more responsibility for managing intravenous medication and the employment of phlebotomists. Doctors expressed concerns about a lack of career counselling and availability of training in research methods in their posts.
To reduce fatigue‐related risk among junior doctors, recent initiatives in Europe and the USA have introduced limits on work hours. However, research in other industries has highlighted that other aspects of work patterns are important in generating fatigue, in addition to total work hours. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has proposed a more comprehensive fatigue risk management approach.
To evaluate the work patterns of New Zealand junior doctors based on the AMA approach, examining relationships between different aspects of work and fatigue‐related outcomes.
An anonymous questionnaire mailed to all house officers and registrars dealt with demographics, work patterns, sleepiness, fatigue‐related clinical errors, and support for coping with work demands. Each participant was assigned a total fatigue risk score combining 10 aspects of work patterns and sleep in the preceding week.
The response rate was 63% (1366 questionnaires from doctors working ⩾40 hours a week). On fatigue measures, 30% of participants scored as excessively sleepy (Epworth Sleepiness Score >10), 24% reported falling asleep driving home since becoming a doctor, 66% had felt close to falling asleep at the wheel in the past 12 months, and 42% recalled a fatigue‐related clinical error in the past 6 months. Night work and schedule instability were independently associated with more fatigue measures than was total hours worked, after controlling for demographic factors, The total risk score was a significant independent risk factor for all fatigue measures, in a dose‐dependent manner (all p<0.01). Regular access to adequate supervision at work reduced the risk of fatigue on all measures.
To reduce fatigue‐related risk among junior doctors, account must be taken of factors in addition to total hours of work and duration of rest breaks. The AMA fatigue risk assessment model offers a useful example of a more comprehensive approach.
fatigue; work patterns; fatigue risk management; national fatigue survey; junior doctors
Aim: To compare SHO learning outcomes for a PBL course with a traditional didactic course.
Methods: As part of their protected teaching programme, 14 senior house officers (SHOs) were taught about paediatric dermatology using a traditional didactic course. Six months later, the new SHOs received a PBL course including small group teaching and a study guide. Both the traditional and the PBL group were assessed using multiple choice questions (MCQs), an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), and pre- and post-course self-assessment sheets. SHOs completed course evaluation sheets.
Results: There was no significant difference in learning outcome between the traditional and PBL courses as assessed by the MCQs, OSCE, and self-assessment sheets. The PBL course was well appreciated by SHOs who liked variety in the teaching programme.
Conclusions: The PBL and traditional course had equivalent learning outcomes. PBL adds variety to junior doctor protected teaching programmes and can be a useful tool for doctors working shift patterns.
Junior doctors' hours are one of the most controversial topics under debate in the health service today. We undertook a detailed postal questionnaire of hospital doctors in training within a major teaching unit in order to assess the awareness and perceived implications of the incipient changes and to elucidate how it was felt these changes would affect both the doctors and patients. The questionnaire focused specifically on the effect of the changes on quality and continuity of patient care, junior training and socio-economic factors relating to the medical staff. The questionnaire was entirely anonymous and carried only the first author name but provision was made to determine current grade, specialty, age, sex and career plans of the respondents. Importantly, space was included at the end for pertinent comments. All junior staff in training in all specialties in the Cardiff area were circulated. Three hundred and twenty-six questionnaires were sent out and 202 were returned of which 192 were properly completed (59%). Almost everyone was au fait with the proposed changes. There was a surprisingly high level of support for changes among non-surgical trainees, and half felt that quality of care would improve, though the more senior the trainee, the less enthusiastic they were in all aspects. Many felt that far too little consultation with junior staff had taken place and there was generalized criticism of general practitioner trainees by their specializing counterparts, partly because of a perceived lack of commitment and partly because of blame of this group for the inception of the changes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Purpose of study: To determine whether sleep deprivation affects not only junior doctors' performance in answering medical questions but whether their ability to judge their own performance is also affected by lack of sleep.
Methods: A questionnaire based follow up study in two district general hospitals of the Carmarthenshire NHS Trust. Eleven house officers and 15 senior house officers (SHOs) within the medical directorate participating in the on-call rota were recruited between July 1999 and May 2000.
Results: SHOs answered significantly more questions correctly (p=0.04) and were more confident than house officers when they were either correct or incorrect (p<0.001). Length of unbroken or continuous sleep is associated with more correct answers (p=0.03) and higher energy (p=0.09) and confidence (p=0.07) scores self rated by the profile of mood states. Length of continuous sleep was not related to the appropriateness of confidence, as measured by the "within-subject confidence-accuracy correlation" (p=0.919).
Conclusions: SHOs performed better than house officers even allowing for sleep loss. Sleep deprivation had adverse effects on mood and performance but junior doctors can still monitor their performance and retain insight into their own ability when sleep deprived.
The organisation of junior doctors' work hours has been radically altered following the partial implementation of the European Working Time Directive. Poorly designed shift schedules cause excessive disruption to shift workers' circadian rhythms.
Interviews and focus groups were used to explore perceptions among junior doctors and hospital managers regarding the impact of the European Working Time Directive on patient care and doctors' well-being.
Four main themes were identified. Under “Doctors shift rotas”, doctors deliberated the merits and demerits of working seven nights in row. They also discussed the impact on fatigue of long sequences of day shifts. “Education and training” focused on concerns about reduced on-the-job learning opportunities under the new working time arrangements and also about the difficulties of finding time and energy to study. “Work/life balance” reflected the conflict between the positive aspects of working on-call or at night and the impact on life outside work. “Social support structures” focused on the role of morale and team spirit. Good support structures in the work place counteracted and compensated for the effects of negative role stressors, and arduous and unsocial work schedules.
The impact of junior doctors' work schedules is influenced by the nature of specific shift sequences, educational considerations, issues of work/life balance and by social support systems. Poorly designed shift rotas can have negative impacts on junior doctors' professional performance and educational training, with implications for clinical practice, patient care and the welfare of junior doctors.
Shift patterns; junior doctors; fatigue; patient care; safety; qualitative research
The number of hospital based posts in which nurses take over clinical work previously done by junior doctors is growing. Accountability for the scope of such new roles and the standards of practice which apply to them are still unclear. When analysed together and compared, the regulations arising from the professional bodies (GMC and UKCC), civil law concerning certain wrongs to patients, and employment law are sometimes contradictory and hard to interpret. The resulting uncertainties about appropriate management for clinical roles evolving between the professions, coupled with an increasingly litigious public, put the nurses and consultants involved at risk of complaints and of disciplinary and legal action. Drawing on our current research into changing clinical roles at the medical-nursing interface, we suggest strategies to reduce risk. Doctors and nurses should be equal partners in planning and managing these new posts, patients should be informed adequately about the nature of the postholder's role and training, significant changes in the work of such postholders should be formally acknowledged by the employer and relevant insurers, individuals taking up new roles should have access to legal advice and support to cover legal risk, and national regulatory bodies need to work together to harmonise their codes of practice in relation to changing clinical roles between the professions.
Anaphylaxis is a life threatening reaction where prompt and appropriate management can save lives. Epinephrine (adrenaline) is the treatment of choice; however, the recommended dose and route of administration of epinephrine used in the management of anaphylaxis is different from that used in the management of cardiac arrest.
To investigate how junior doctors would administer epinephrine in a case of anaphylactic shock in an adult patient.
Junior medical staff in two district general hospitals were assessed with a short questionnaire.
95 junior hospital doctors were assessed. The majority (94%) would administer epinephrine as the life saving drug of choice, but only 16.8% would administer it as recommended by the UK Resuscitation Council Guidelines.
Junior doctors may be called to make immediate management decisions in patients with anaphylaxis; however, widespread confusion exists regarding the dose and route of administration of epinephrine. Strategies to improve education and access to appropriate drugs are needed. A labelled “anaphylaxis box” on every resuscitation trolley, containing the dose of epinephrine with clear labelling for intramuscular use, may be one solution.
A total of 277 third and fourth year medical students and 304 house officers and senior house officers were asked to prioritise the content and methods of clinical teaching. Response rates were poor, but similar to that in market surveys. Bedside teaching and medical clerking were considered the most valuable methods of teaching and training in practical procedures such as venepunctures and urinary catheterisation was seen as valuable. The design of new curricula in medical education will need to accommodate the views of its clients.
Both pre-registration house officers and general practitioner (GP) registrars agree on several desirable and undesirable factors that define their ideal career. These relate to fulfilling clinical work and preservation of a meaningful personal life. Many young doctors regret their choice of medicine as a career because of poor job conditions and stress and perceive career advice as inadequate. GP's influence over junior doctors at the time of their career decision making is very limited compared with that of consultants.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate how well junior doctors in accident and emergency (A&E) were able to diagnose significant x ray abnormalities after trauma and to compare their results with those of more senior doctors. METHODS: 49 junior doctors (senior house officers) in A&E were tested with an x ray quiz in a standard way. Their results were compared with 34 consultants and senior registrars in A&E and radiology, who were tested in the same way. The quiz included 30 x rays (including 10 normal films) that had been taken after trauma. The abnormal films all had clinically significant, if sometimes uncommon, diagnoses. The results were compared and analysed statistically. RESULTS: The mean score for the abnormal x rays for all the junior doctors was only 32% correct. The 10 junior doctors were more experience scored significantly better (P < 0.001) but their mean score was only 48%. The mean score of the senior doctors was 80%, which was significantly higher than the juniors (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: The majority of junior doctors misdiagnosed significant trauma abnormalities on x ray. Senior doctors scored well, but were not infallible. This suggests that junior doctors are not safe to work on their own in A&E departments. There are implications for training, supervision, and staffing in A&E departments, as well as a need for fail-safe mechanisms to ensure adequate patient care and to improve risk management.
Lack of diversity in the health, science, and medical professions has been documented as a contributor to health disparities in the United States, and early intervention is essential for the recruitment of underrepresented students into the health professions. The Junior Fellows Program, a partnership between the New York Academy of Medicine, New York City public schools, and regional academic medical centers, is designed to stimulate students' interest in health, science, medicine, and research. From seminars designed to advance Junior Fellows' skills in identifying concrete strategies for improving health and preventing illness, to understanding the research process and the nature of scientific inquiry, the program engages Junior Fellows in project-based learning, works to enhance their critical thinking skills, and helps them to foster positive interactions with practicing physicians and health professionals. Surveys of program graduates indicate the program has been influential in creating a high level of motivation to pursue carrers related to health, science, and medicine. The program continues to work on enhancing educational opportunities for urban public school students and promoting career awareness for the health professions, with a special emphasis on improving the proportion of minorities and women who enter these fields.
Health professions; Library research; Minorities; Science; Partnerships; Urban youth
The implementation of modernising medical careers (MMC) has resulted in some specialties being allocated very inexperienced trainees such as ophthalmology. We aim to describe the process of implementation of MMC and how it may affect the service provision in smaller specialities such as ophthalmology. A methodical approach in a district hospital setting was used to provide early core training to such trainees involving managerial support. The quality of service provided by newer trainees can be enhanced by providing early structured training during induction to create an atmosphere of enthusiasm and continued learning. This example can be used in other units and specialties.
approved training; foundation training; modernising medical careers; ophthalmology; specialist training
OBJECTIVE--To examine the workload and work patterns of junior doctors of all grades while on call. DESIGN--Pilot study of activity data self recorded by junior doctors, with the help of students during busy periods. SETTING--A general surgical firm and a general medical firm based at University Hospital, Nottingham. SUBJECTS--Four registrars, three senior house officers, and five preregistration house officers. RESULTS--Senior house officers and preregistration house officers spent nearly half of all their on call duty time working, but less than half of that time was spent in direct contact with patients. Registrars were on call more often than the house officers but spent less than one fifth of their on call duty time working, and almost two thirds of that time was spent in direct contact with patients. CONCLUSIONS--Workload while on duty is excessive for both senior and preregistration house officers. Changes in some administrative procedures and employment of more non-medical staff during on call periods might reduce the time spent on non-clinical activities, thereby reducing the overall workload and allowing more time for patient contact.
The question of how to reduce junior doctors' hours has taxed the government and hospital managers for nearly two decades. Now regional task forces are being asked to get them down to a maximum of 83 a week by 1 April next year. From a comparison of the way in which two different task forces (Northern and North West Thames) have responded to the challenge it emerges that most units will probably meet the 83 hour deadline by making simple rationalisations. Meeting the next deadline--of a 72 hour maximum by December 1996--will, however, require radical restructuring of working patterns.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the knowledge about notifiable infectious diseases by accident and emergency (A&E) senior house officers. METHODS: A telephone questionnaire of senior house officers was carried out over a one week period at the end of their six month attachment in A&E departments in Northern Ireland. RESULTS: 81 (91%) of the senior house officers participated in the study; 23 (29%) realised that the doctor diagnosing the notifiable disease had a statutory duty to notify that disease; nine (11%) were aware there were three statutory lists in the United Kingdom. Knowledge about which infectious diseases require notification varied from 79/81 (98%) for meningococcal disease to 15/91 (19%) for methicillin resistant S aureus. Seventy nine (98%) of the doctors thought that a poster displayed in the A&E department would be helpful. There was no significant difference between duration of qualification and performance on the questionnaire (p = 0.2). CONCLUSIONS: Despite varying experience, junior doctors in A&E do not know which infectious diseases are notifiable by statute. They felt that it would be helpful to have a poster in the A&E department listing the notifiable diseases of that region. To encourage accurate reporting, interregional variation between the statutory lists should be abolished and replaced by one nationally agreed list.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the causes of stress in women doctors and relate these to levels of depression. DESIGN--Questionnaire study. SUBJECTS--Of 92 women doctors who had graduated from the universities of Leeds, Manchester, and Sheffield in 1986 and had been working as junior house officers for eight months 70 (76%) returned completed questionnaires. MAIN RESULTS--Mean score on the general health questionnaire was 13.79 (SD 5.20) and on the symptom checklist for depression was 1.43 (0.83). The scores of 32 subjects (46%) were above the criterion for clinical depression. Overwork was perceived as creating the most strain, followed by effects on personal life, serious failures of treatment, and talking to distressed relatives. Both stress and depression were related to effects on personal life, overwork, relations with consultants, and making decisions. Sex related sources of stress were conflicts between career and personal life, sexual harassment at work, a lack of female role models, and prejudice from patients. In addition to these, discrimination by senior doctors was related to depression. CONCLUSION--Changes are needed in the career paths of women doctors, and could be implemented.
A sample of 106 senior house officers who had graduated from Nottingham University in 1987 was surveyed about their experience of and need for careers guidance, performance appraisal, and stress counselling. Of the 80 who replied, a quarter had received no careers guidance and a quarter no feedback about their work performance. Many reported having had difficulties in their post, but few had received help from senior staff or their consultant. The perceived needs for counselling were considerable. Careers counselling was thought to be essential in the preregistration year by all of the doctors and in senior house officer posts by three quarters. Nearly all would have chosen regular appraisal and nearly half wanted counselling for particular difficulties. Doctors in the training grades clearly believed that they needed counselling, but in most cases they did not receive it.
Most cardiac arrest teams are made up of junior doctors. The stressful effect of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on doctors has not previously been established. A questionnaire was sent to all 52 junior doctors who participated in the cardiac arrest team at a district general hospital. Forty one questionnaires were returned by 22 junior house officers, 12 senior house officers, and seven specialist registrars. The questionnaire was anonymous so non-responders could not be recontacted. Seventy three per cent found CPR stressful. The main reason for stress was the inappropriateness of CPR on the individual patient (12), poor outcome (13), no advanced life support (ALS) course (4), and the procedure itself (4). Fifty four per cent felt the number of inappropriate CPR had increased in the last six months with the main reason given (48%) being failure of senior staff to make "do not resuscitate" orders. Ninety seven per cent felt some CPRs were inappropriate; 70% felt a debriefing session should occur after CPR, while 88% reported not having one. Seventy six per cent felt competent at performing CPR, 22% felt incompetent of whom none had undergone ALS training. Fifty eight per cent found it difficult to discuss CPR with patients; 46% found it difficult to discuss CPR with relatives.
Most junior doctors feel stress from CPR. Adequate review by senior doctors with documentation of do not resuscitate orders where appropriate, after discussion with patients, might be beneficial. Adequate training, improving communication skills, and support for junior doctors in the cardiac arrest team need to be reviewed since improvement in these areas may reduce stress.
Severe organophosphorus or carbamate pesticide poisoning is an important clinical problem in many countries of the world. Unfortunately, little clinical research has been performed and little evidence exists with which to determine best therapy. A cohort study of acute pesticide poisoned patients was established in Sri Lanka during 2002; so far, more than 2000 pesticide poisoned patients have been treated. A protocol for the early management of severely ill, unconscious organophosphorus/carbamate-poisoned patients was developed for use by newly qualified doctors. It concentrates on the early stabilisation of patients and the individualised administration of atropine. We present it here as a guide for junior doctors in rural parts of the developing world who see the majority of such patients and as a working model around which to base research to improve patient outcome. Improved management of pesticide poisoning will result in a reduced number of suicides globally.
atropine; carbamate; management; organophosphate; pesticides
The theoretical knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation of 50 junior hospital doctors was examined, and an attempt made to assess their practical ability to manage a collapsed patient. Major defects were found in both the doctors' theoretical knowledge and their practical abilities. Only 8% were able to manage a cardiopulmonary arrest adequately. Suggestions are made as to how standards might be improved.
This study assessed the ability of junior doctors in accident and emergency to detect radiographic abnormalities. Their assessments of 505 radiographs taken at nights and weekends over a period of 8 months and showing abnormalities were examined. Each assessment by a senior house officer (SHO) was compared with the subsequent diagnosis of a radiologist of senior registrar or consultant status. An error rate of 35% was found. For abnormalities with clinically significant consequences the error rate was 39%. Although this error rate appears high the results are consistent with those of earlier studies in that missed positive radiographs constitute 2.8% of the total number of radiographs taken in the period. It is considered that the proportion of missed abnormalities gives a truer index of SHOs' abilities. No improvement in performance was evident over the 6-month period of the SHOs tenure of post. It is argued that it is unrealistic to expect accident and emergency SHOs to acquire this complex skill simply through experience and that more formal training and guidance is needed.
The aims of this study were to elicit general practitioner (GP) trainee's perceptions of the educational structure of their hospital posts, to compare them with those of consultants who had GP trainees as senior house officers (SHOs) in their departments and to examine the use of educational objectives in the hospital component of vocational training for general practice. A confidential postal questionnaire was sent to all the GP trainees (165 doctors) in the hospital component of their vocational training schemes (VTS) for general practice in Trent Region and all the consultants (161 doctors) in Trent who had GP trainees in their SHO posts on that date. Responses were received from 136 trainees (82%) and 134 consultants (83%). Educational objectives were stated as existing in the SHO post by 31 trainees (23%) and by 62 consultants (46%). Of those doctors who said that objectives existed, 19 of the trainees (61%) and 40 of the consultants (65%) said that the objectives were useful. Only nine (29%) of the trainees who stated that educational objectives existed felt that they were being put into practice by senior staff, compared with 41 (66%) of consultants who had made that statement. Of all respondents, 113 trainees (87%) and 100 consultants (77%) agreed or strongly agreed that the use of educational objectives would be beneficial to the trainees. Only 10 (7%) of trainees said that they received no teaching in their current posts. Forty trainees (32%) and 88 consultants (67%) said that teaching took place in protected time. Both groups cited consultants as the member of staff giving the most teaching. Ninety-six consultants (73%) replied that it was possible for GP trainees to obtain study leave, but 102 trainees (75%) either had experienced difficulties in obtaining study leave or had not attempted to obtain study leave. Trainees and consultants differed appreciably in their perceptions of the amount of assessment and feedback which was provided for GP trainees. The use of educational objectives in the hospital component of vocational training was felt to be beneficial by both consultants and GP trainees. Consultants were more likely than trainees to report the use of educational objectives, protected teaching time, GP-orientated teaching, ability of trainees to attend VTS half-day release and the provision of assessment and feedback to trainees.
To ascertain the views of senior house officers and registrars on the educational and training component of their posts, a questionnaire was sent to all full-time doctors working in training posts in general and/or geriatric medicine at three district general and three teaching hospitals. Completed questionnaires were received from 64 (61%) of 105 doctors who were contacted. Most had a careers counsellor or tutor, although less than two-thirds thought they had benefited from this arrangement. The majority of doctors attended at least two medical tutorials or meetings per week; most wanted to attend more but were unable to because of other work commitments. Supervision by more senior staff on the ward was deemed by most to be satisfactory, but less so in out-patient clinics. Overall, one-third of doctors thought that training was inadequate and three-quarters wanted a greater amount of formal education. The majority of junior doctors' time was spent on routine work and most considered :training' constituted less than 10% of their working time. Doctors in training require more sessions designated as educational, with protected time to attend these.
INTRODUCTION: To describe the opinion of junior doctors in neurosurgery in the UK and Eire about future reforms to training, and to relate this to the establishment of a generic neurosciences training programme. METHODS: A postal questionnaire survey of neurosurgery units in UK and Eire (36 units). All senior house officers (SHOs) taking part in a neurosurgery on-call rota during the 6 months between February and August 2003 (n=236); 190 respondents (response rate 81% overall, 90% neurosurgery SHOs and 55% neurology SHOs. The questionnaire covered most aspects of provision of training, working pattern and job satisfaction gained from the post. Also included were questions on future reforms for training. RESULTS: There is an overwhelming acceptance amongst SHOs for training to be centred on generic programmes. The audit also identified that there are many aspects of neurosurgical training which will be very suitable for trainees from other fields, thus supporting the establishment of a generic neurosciences training programme. CONCLUSIONS: The establishment of a generic training programme would encourage an improvement in training standards for the whole SHO grade. To ensure the success of this proposed generic training programme, support from junior doctors and all those involved in postgraduate education is required. Neurosciences teaching has the excellent potential to move towards the planning and formation of a generic neurosciences training programme in-line with the proposed reforms.