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1.  Nesting doctoral students in collaborative North–South partnerships for health systems research 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.24070.
Background
The European Union (EU) supports North–South Partnerships and collaborative research projects through its Framework Programmes and Horizon 2020. There is limited research on how such projects can be harnessed to provide a structured platform for doctoral level studies as a way of strengthening health system research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Objective
The aim of this study was to explore the challenges of, and facilitating factors for, ‘nesting’ doctoral students in North–South collaborative research projects. The term nesting refers to the embedding of the processes of recruiting, supervising, and coordinating doctoral students in the overall research plan and processes.
Design
This cross-sectional qualitative study was undertaken by the EU-funded QUALMAT Project. A questionnaire was implemented with doctoral students, supervisors, and country principal investigators (PIs), and content analysis was undertaken.
Results
Completed questionnaires were received from nine doctoral students, six supervisors, and three country PIs (86% responses rate). The doctoral students from SSA described high expectations about the input they would receive (administrative support, equipment, training, supervision). This contrasted with the expectations of the supervisors for proactivity and self-management on the part of the students. The rationale for candidate selection, and understandings of the purpose of the doctoral students in the project were areas of considerable divergence. There were some challenges associated with the use of the country PIs as co-supervisors. Doctoral student progress was at times impeded by delays in the release of funding instalments from the EU. The paper provides a checklist of essential requirements and a set of recommendations for effective nesting of doctoral students in joint North–South projects.
Conclusion
There are considerable challenges to the effective nesting of doctoral students within major collaborative research projects. However, ways can be found to overcome them. The nesting process ultimately helped the institutions involved in this example to take better advantage of the opportunities that collaborative projects offer to foster North–South partnerships as a contribution to the strengthening of local research capacity.
doi:10.3402/gha.v7.24070
PMCID: PMC4101456  PMID: 25030216
collaborative project; doctoral students; health systems research capacity; North–South Partnership
2.  Rural Clinician Scarcity and Job Preferences of Doctors and Nurses in India: A Discrete Choice Experiment 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82984.
The scarcity of rural doctors has undermined the ability of health systems in low and middle-income countries like India to provide quality services to rural populations. This study examines job preferences of doctors and nurses to inform what works in terms of rural recruitment strategies. Job acceptance of different strategies was compared to identify policy options for increasing the availability of clinical providers in rural areas. In 2010 a Discrete Choice Experiment was conducted in India. The study sample included final year medical and nursing students, and in-service doctors and nurses serving at Primary Health Centers. Eight job attributes were identified and a D-efficient fractional factorial design was used to construct pairs of job choices. Respondent acceptance of job choices was analyzed using multi-level logistic regression. Location mattered; jobs in areas offering urban amenities had a high likelihood of being accepted. Higher salary had small effect on doctor, but large effect on nurse, acceptance of rural jobs. At five times current salary levels, 13% (31%) of medical students (doctors) were willing to accept rural jobs. At half this level, 61% (52%) of nursing students (nurses) accepted a rural job. The strategy of reserving seats for specialist training in exchange for rural service had a large effect on job acceptance among doctors, nurses and nursing students. For doctors and nurses, properly staffed and equipped health facilities, and housing had small effects on job acceptance. Rural upbringing was not associated with rural job acceptance. Incentivizing doctors for rural service is expensive. A broader strategy of substantial salary increases with improved living, working environment, and education incentives is necessary. For both doctors and nurses, the usual strategies of moderate salary increases, good facility infrastructure, and housing will not be effective. Non-physician clinicians like nurse-practitioners offer an affordable alternative for delivering rural health care.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082984
PMCID: PMC3869745  PMID: 24376621
3.  Doctoral training in Uganda: evaluation of mentoring best practices at Makerere university college of health sciences 
Background
Good mentoring is a key variable for determining success in completing a doctoral program. We identified prevailing mentoring practices among doctoral students and their mentors, identified common challenges facing doctoral training, and proposed some solutions to enhance the quality of the doctoral training experience for both candidates and mentors at Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS).
Methods
This cross-sectional qualitative evaluation was part of the monitoring and evaluation program for doctoral training. All doctoral students and their mentors were invited for a half-day workshop through the MakCHS mailing list. Prevailing doctoral supervision and mentoring guidelines were summarised in a one-hour presentation. Participants were split into two homogenous students’ (mentees’) and mentors’ groups to discuss specific issues using a focus group discussion (FGD) guide, that highlighted four main themes in regard to the doctoral training experience; what was going well, what was not going well, proposed solutions to current challenges and perceived high priority areas for improvement. The two groups came together again and the note-takers from each group presented their data and discussions were recorded by a note-taker.
Results
Twelve out of 36 invited mentors (33%) and 22 out of 40 invited mentees (55%) attended the workshop. Mentors and mentees noted increasing numbers of doctoral students and mentors, which provided opportunities for peer mentorship. Delays in procurement and research regulatory processes subsequently delayed students’ projects. Similarly, mentees mentioned challenges of limited; 1) infrastructure and mentors to support basic science research projects, 2) physical office space for doctoral students and their mentors, 3) skills in budgeting and finance management and 4) communication skills including conflict resolution. As solutions, the team proposed skills’ training, induction courses for doctoral students-mentor teams, and a Frequently Asked Questions’ document, to better inform mentors’, mentees’ expectations and experiences.
Conclusion
Systemic and infrastructural limitations affect the quality of the doctoral training experience at MaKCHS. Clinical and biomedical research infrastructure, in addition to training in research regulatory processes, procurement and finance management, communication skills and information technology, were highlighted as high priority areas for strategic interventions to improve mentoring within doctoral training of clinician scientists.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-9
PMCID: PMC3897930  PMID: 24410984
Mentorship; Doctoral training; Supervision; Capacity building; Health care; Low and middle income countries; Uganda
4.  ‘A world of difference’: a qualitative study of medical students’ views on professionalism and the ‘good doctor’ 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:77.
Background
The importance of professional behaviour has been emphasized in medical school curricula. However, the lack of consensus on what constitutes professionalism poses a challenge to medical educators, who often resort to a negative model of assessment based on the identification of unacceptable behaviour. This paper presents results from a study exploring medical students’ views on professionalism, and reports on students’ constructs of the ‘good’ and the ‘professional’ doctor.
Methods
Data for this qualitative study were collected through focus groups conducted with medical students from one Western Australian university over a period of four years. Students were recruited through unit coordinators and invited to participate in a focus group. De-identified socio-demographic data were obtained through a brief questionnaire. Focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed and subjected to inductive thematic analysis.
Results
A total of 49 medical students took part in 13 focus groups. Differences between students’ understandings of the ‘good’ and ‘professional’ doctor were observed. Being competent, a good communicator and a good teacher were the main characteristics of the ‘good’ doctor. Professionalism was strongly associated with the adoption of a professional persona; following a code of practice and professional guidelines, and treating others with respect were also associated with the ‘professional’ doctor.
Conclusions
Students felt more connected to the notion of the ‘good’ doctor, and perceived professionalism as an external and imposed construct. When both constructs were seen as acting in opposition, students tended to forgo professionalism in favour of becoming a ‘good’ doctor.
Results suggest that the teaching of professionalism should incorporate more formal reflection on the complexities of medical practice, allowing students and educators to openly explore and articulate any perceived tensions between what is formally taught and what is being observed in clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-77
PMCID: PMC3992127  PMID: 24725303
Professionalism; Medical students’ views; Good doctor; Qualitative study
5.  "Seeing a doctor is just like having a date": a qualitative study on doctor shopping among overactive bladder patients in Hong Kong 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:27.
Background
Although having a regular primary care provider is noted to be beneficial to health, doctor shopping has been documented as a common treatment seeking behavior among chronically ill patients in different countries. However, little research has been conducted into the reasons behind doctor shopping behavior among patients with overactive bladder, and even less into how this behavior relates to these patients’ illness and social experiences, perceptions, and cultural practices. Therefore, this study examines overactive bladder patients to investigate the reasons behind doctor shopping behavior.
Methods
My study takes a qualitative approach, conducting 30 semi-structured individual interviews, with 30 overactive bladder patients in Hong Kong.
Results
My study found six primary themes that influenced doctor shopping behavior: lack of perceived need, convenience, work-provided medical insurance, unpleasant experiences with doctors, searching for a match doctor, and switching between biomedicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Besides the perceptual factors, participants’ social environment, illness experiences, personal cultural preference, and cultural beliefs also intertwined to generate their doctor shopping behavior. Due to the low perceived need for a regular personal primary care physician, environmental factors such as time, locational convenience, and work-provided medical insurance became decisive in doctor shopping behavior. Patients’ unpleasant illness experiences, stemming from a lack of understanding among many primary care doctors about overactive bladder, contributed to participants’ sense of mismatch with these doctors, which induced them to shop for another doctor.
Conclusions
Overactive bladder is a chronic bladder condition with very limited treatment outcome. Although patients with overactive bladder often require specialty urology treatment, it is usually beneficial for the patients to receive continuous, coordinated, comprehensive, and patient-centered support from their primary care providers. Primary care doctors’ understanding on patients with overactive bladder with empathetic attitudes is important to reduce the motivations of doctor shopping behavior among these patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-27
PMCID: PMC3936809  PMID: 24502367
Hong Kong; Doctor shopping; Perceptions; Social environment; Illness and treatment experiences; Personal cultural preference; Cultural beliefs; Overactive bladder patients
6.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
7.  An analysis of reported motivational orientation in students undertaking doctoral studies in the biomedical sciences 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:38.
Background
As the source of a sizeable percentage of research output and the future arbiters of science policy, practice and direction, doctoral (Ph.D.) students represent a key demographic in the biomedical research community. Despite this, doctoral learning in the biomedical sciences has, to date, received little research attention.
Methods
In the present study we aimed to qualitatively describe the motivational orientations present in semi-structured interview transcripts from a cohort of seventeen biomedical Ph.D. students drawn from two research intensive Australian Group of Eight universities.
Results
Applying elements of self-determination theory, external and introjected control loci (both strongly associated with alienation, disengagement and poor learning outcomes) were identified as common motivational determinants in this cohort.
Conclusions
The importance of these findings to doctoral learning is discussed in light of previous research undertaken in higher education settings in the United States and the European Union. With motivation accepted as a malleable, context-sensitive factor, these data provide for both a better understanding of doctoral learning and highlight a potential avenue for future research aimed at improving outcomes and promoting meaningful learning processes in the biomedical doctorate.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-38
PMCID: PMC3974041  PMID: 24571918
Ph.D.; Biomedical; Self-determination theory; Motivation; Doctorate; Control
8.  'It gives you an understanding you can't get from any book.' The relationship between medical students' and doctors' personal illness experiences and their performance: a qualitative and quantitative study 
Background
Anecdotes abound about doctors' personal illness experiences and the effect they have on their empathy and care of patients. We formally investigated the relationship between doctors' and medical students' personal illness experiences, their examination results, preparedness for clinical practice, learning and professional attitudes and behaviour towards patients.
Methods
Newly-qualified UK doctors in 2005 (n = 2062/4784), and two cohorts of students at one London medical school (n = 640/749) participated in the quantitative arm of the study. 37 Consultants, 1 Specialist Registrar, 2 Clinical Skills Tutors and 25 newly-qualified doctors participated in the qualitative arm. Newly-qualified doctors and medical students reported their personal illness experiences in a questionnaire. Doctors' experiences were correlated with self-reported preparedness for their new clinical jobs. Students' experiences were correlated with their examination results, and self-reported anxiety and depression. Interviews with clinical teachers, newly-qualified doctors and senior doctors qualitatively investigated how personal illness experiences affect learning, professional attitudes, and behaviour.
Results
85.5% of newly-qualified doctors and 54.4% of medical students reported personal illness experiences. Newly-qualified doctors who had been ill felt less prepared for starting work (p < 0.001), but those who had only experienced illness in a relative or friend felt more prepared (p = 0.02). Clinical medical students who had been ill were more anxious (p = 0.01) and had lower examination scores (p = 0.006). Doctors felt their personal illness experiences helped them empathise and communicate with patients. Medical students with more life experience were perceived as more mature, empathetic, and better learners; but illness at medical school was recognised to impede learning.
Conclusion
The majority of the medical students and newly qualified doctors we studied reported personal illness experiences, and these experiences were associated with lower undergraduate examination results, higher anxiety, and lower preparedness. However reflection on such experiences may have improved professional attitudes such as empathy and compassion for patients. Future research is warranted in this area.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-7-50
PMCID: PMC2211477  PMID: 18053231
9.  Professional approaches in clinical judgements among senior and junior doctors: implications for medical education 
Background
Clinical experience has traditionally been highly valued in medical education and clinical healthcare. On account of its multi-faceted nature, clinical experience is mostly difficult to articulate, and is mainly expressed in clinical situations as professional approaches. Due to retirement, hospitals in Scandinavia will soon face a substantial decrease in the number of senior specialist doctors, and it has been discussed whether healthcare will suffer an immense loss of experienced-based knowledge when this senior group leaves the organization. Both senior specialists and junior colleagues are often involved in clinical education, but the way in which these two groups vary in professional approaches and contributions to clinical education has not been so well described. Cognitive psychology has contributed to the understanding of how experience may influence professional approaches, but such studies have not included the effect of differences in position and responsibilities that junior and senior doctors hold in clinical healthcare. In the light of the discussion above, it is essential to describe the professional approaches of senior doctors in relation to those of their junior colleagues. This study therefore aims to describe and compare the professional approaches of junior and senior doctors when making clinical judgements.
Methods
Critical incident technique was used in interviews with nine senior doctors and nine junior doctors in internal medicine. The interviews were subjected to qualitative content analysis.
Result
Senior and junior doctors expressed a variety of professional approaches in clinical judgement as follows: use of theoretical knowledge, use of prior experience of cases and courses of events, use of ethical and moral values, meeting and communicating with the patient, focusing on available information, relying on their own ability, getting support and guidance from others and being directed by the organization.
Conclusion
The most prominent varieties of professional approaches were seen in use of knowledge and work-related experience. Senior doctors know how the organization has worked in the past and have acquired techniques with respect to long-term decisions and their consequences. Junior doctors, on the other hand, have developed techniques and expertise for making decisions based on a restricted amount of information, in relation to patients' wellbeing as well as organizational opportunities and constraints. This study contributes to medical education by elucidating the variation in professional approaches among junior and senior doctors, which can be used as a basis for discussion about clinical judgement, in both pre-clinical and clinical education. Further research is required to explain how these professional approaches are expressed and used in clinical education.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-9-25
PMCID: PMC2693513  PMID: 19460139
10.  Experiences of well-being among female doctoral students in Sweden 
The aim of this study was to explore how female PhD students experience and perceive their well-being. Focus groups were conducted with female PhD students employed at a Swedish university. The study was performed using a phenomenological hermeneutic approach based on the concept of the lifeworld, used as both a philosophical perspective and a methodology. Three main themes emerged from the analysis: being true to oneself, being in the sphere of influence, and performing a balancing act. By unfolding these themes, the study shows that perceptions and experiences of well-being in female PhD students are a multifaceted phenomenon and materialize through interaction of different aspects of “self” (agent) and “others” (structure). As well as illustrating these perceptions and experiences, the study also presents female PhD students’ conceptualization of their well-being, expressed in terms of a white-water rafting metaphor.
doi:10.3402/qhw.v9.23059
PMCID: PMC3991832  PMID: 24746246
Female; doctoral students; lifeworld; PhD students; phenomenological hermeneutics; well-being
11.  Using Learning Outcome Measures to assess Doctoral Nursing Education 
Education programs at all levels must be able to demonstrate successful program outcomes. Grades alone do not represent a comprehensive measurement methodology for assessing student learning outcomes at either the course or program level. The development and application of assessment rubrics provides an unequivocal measurement methodology to ensure a quality learning experience by providing a foundation for improvement based on qualitative and quantitatively measurable, aggregate course and program outcomes. Learning outcomes are the embodiment of the total learning experience and should incorporate assessment of both qualitative and quantitative program outcomes. The assessment of qualitative measures represents a challenge for educators in any level of a learning program. Nursing provides a unique challenge and opportunity as it is the application of science through the art of caring. Quantification of desired student learning outcomes may be enhanced through the development of assessment rubrics designed to measure quantitative and qualitative aspects of the nursing education and learning process. They provide a mechanism for uniform assessment by nursing faculty of concepts and constructs that are otherwise difficult to describe and measure. A protocol is presented and applied to a doctoral nursing education program with recommendations for application and transformation of the assessment rubric to other education programs. Through application of these specially designed rubrics, all aspects of an education program can be adequately assessed to provide information for program assessment that facilitates the closure of the gap between desired and actual student learning outcomes for any desired educational competency.
doi:10.3791/2048
PMCID: PMC2909043  PMID: 20567217
12.  Prevalence of stress in junior doctors during their internship training: a cross-sectional study of three Saudi medical colleges’ hospitals 
Background
Medical science is perceived as a stressful educational career, and medical students experience monstrous stress during their undergraduate studies, internship, and residency training, which affects their cognitive function, practical life, and patient care. In the present study, an assessment of the prevalence of self-perceived stress among new medical graduates during their internship training has been performed, and correlations of self-perceived stress with sex, marital status, and clinical rotations have been evaluated.
Patients and methods
Interns of the King Khalid, King Abdulaziz, and King Fahd University hospitals in Saudi Arabia were invited to complete a stress inventory known as the Kessler 10, which is used for stress measurement. Apart from stress evaluation, the questionnaire collected personal data, such as age, sex, and marital status, in addition to information relevant to hospital training, assigned duties, and clinical training rotations.
Results
Our results showed that nearly 73.0% of interns were under stressed conditions. Most of the interns were affected by a severe level of stress (34.9%), followed by mild (19.3%) and moderate (18.8%) levels of stress. The stress level was significantly higher (84.0%) among female interns in comparison with male interns (66.5%) (odds ratio =2.64; confidence interval =1.59–4.39; P<0.0002). There were statistically significant differences between the percentages of male and female interns (P≤0.047) at mild, moderate, and severe stress levels. Marital status had no role in causing stress. The highest stress level was reported by interns during the clinical rotations of medicine (78.8%), followed by surgery (74.7%), pediatrics (72.4%), obstetrics and gynecology (70.1%), and emergency (58.3%). The prevalence of stress among the interns and their corresponding clinical rotations in all three hospitals had significant linear correlations (r≥0.829, P≤0.041).
Conclusion
We found a significantly high level of stress among the medical interns. High stress may have negative effects on cognitive functioning, learning, and patient care. Hence, medical interns need support and subsequent interventions to cope with stress.
Video abstract
doi:10.2147/NDT.S68039
PMCID: PMC4196886  PMID: 25328389
medical education; clinical rotation; medicine; surgery; pediatrics
13.  Doctors’ and nurses’ views on patient care for type 2 diabetes: an interview study in primary health care in Oman 
Aim
This study aimed at exploring the experiences of primary health-care providers of their encounters with patients with type 2 diabetes, and their preferences and suggestions for future improvement of diabetes care.
Background
Barriers to good diabetes care could be related to problems from health-care providers’ side, patients’ side or the health-care system of the country. Treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes has become a huge challenge in Oman, where the prevalence has increased to high levels.
Method
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 health-care professionals, 19 doctors and seven nurses, who worked in primary health care in Oman. Qualitative content analysis was applied.
Findings
Organizational barriers and barriers related to patients and health-care providers were identified. These included workload and lack of teamwork approach. Poor patients’ management adherence and influence of culture on their attitudes towards illness were identified. From the providers’ side, language barriers, providers’ frustration and aggressive attitudes towards the patients were reflected. Decreasing the workload, availability of competent teams with diabetes specialist nurses and continuity of care were suggested. Furthermore, changing professional behaviours towards a more patient-centred approach and need for health education to the patients, especially on self-management, were addressed. Appropriate training for health-care providers in communication skills with emphasis on self-care education and individualization of care according to each patient's needs are important for improvement of diabetes care in Oman.
doi:10.1017/S146342361200062X
PMCID: PMC3682753  PMID: 23259934
culture; Oman; patient–provider interaction; professional behaviour; qualitative content analysis
14.  '20 days protected learning' - students' experiences of an overseas nurses programme - 4 years on: a retrospective survey 
BMC Nursing  2011;10:7.
Background
From September 2005 the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) introduced new arrangements for the registration of non-EU overseas nurses which requires all applicants to undertake '20 days of protected learning' time in the UK and for some, a period of supervised practice. A survey was undertaken at Bournemouth University, which offers a '20 days protected learning only' programme, to elicit overseas nurses' demographic details, experiences in completing the programme and their 'final destinations' once registered.
Methods
An online survey was devised which contained a mixture of tick box and open ended questions which covered demographic details, views on the programme and final destinations This was uploaded to http://www.surveymonkey.com/ and sent out to nurses who had completed the Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP) with Bournemouth University (n = 1050). Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and the qualitative data were coded and analysed using content analysis.
Results
There were 251 respondents (27.7% response rate). The typical 'profile' of a nurse who responded to the survey was female, aged 25-40 years and had been qualified for more than 5 years with a bachelors degree. The majority came from Australia on a 2 year working holiday visa and the key final destination in the UK, on registration with the NMC, was working for an agency.
There were five key findings regarding experience of the programme. Of those surveyed 61.2% did not feel it necessary to undergo an ONP; 71.6% felt that they should be able to complete the programme on-line in their own country; 64.2% that the ONP should only contain information about delivery of healthcare in UK and Legal and professional (NMC) issues; 57% that European nurses should also undergo the same programme and sit an IELTS test; and 68.2% that the programme was too theory orientated; and should have links to practice (21%).
Conclusions
The NMC set the admissions criteria for entry to the register and Standards for an ONP. The findings of this survey raise issues regarding the perceived value and use of this approach for overseas nurses, and it may be helpful to take this into account when considering future policy.
doi:10.1186/1472-6955-10-7
PMCID: PMC3111357  PMID: 21504556
15.  Promoting medical competencies through international exchange programs: benefits on communication and effective doctor-patient relationships 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:43.
Background
Universities are increasingly organizing international exchange programs to meet the requirements of growing globalisation in the field of health care. Analyses based on the programs’ fundamental theoretical background are needed to confirm the learning value for participants. This study investigated the extent of sociocultural learning in an exchange program and how sociocultural learning affects the acquisition of domain-specific competencies.
Methods
Sociocultural learning theories were applied to study the learning effect for German medical students from the LMU Munich, Munich, Germany, of participation in the medical exchange program with Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia. First, we performed a qualitative study consisting of interviews with five of the first program participants. The results were used to develop a questionnaire for the subsequent, quantitative study, in which 29 program participants and 23 matched controls performed self-assessments of competencies as defined in the Tuning Project for Health Professionals. The two interrelated studies were combined to answer three different research questions.
Results
The participants rated their competence significantly higher than the control group in the fields of doctor-patient relationships and communication in a medical context. Participant responses in the two interrelated studies supported the link between the findings and the suggested theoretical background.
Conclusion
Overall, we found that the exchange program affected the areas of doctor-patient relationships and effective communication in a medical context. Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning theory contributed to explaining the learning mechanisms of the exchange program.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-43
PMCID: PMC3945959  PMID: 24589133
Medical education; Sociocultural learning; Vygotsky; International cooperation; Internationalization on universities; Outcomes of exchange programs; Global health education
16.  Master's level in primary health care education - students' and preceptors' perceptions and experiences of the alteration in the clinical areas 
BMC Nursing  2010;9:11.
Background
Many Western European countries are undergoing reforms with changes in higher education according to the Bologna declaration for Higher European Education Area. In accordance with these changes, the Master's degree was introduced in specialist nurse education in Sweden in 2007, and as a result changed the curriculum and modified theoretical and clinical areas. The aim of this study was to investigate students' and preceptors' perceptions and experiences of Master's level education in primary health care with a focus on the clinical area.
Methods
A descriptive design and qualitative approach was used. Interviews with ten students and ten preceptors were performed twice, before and after the clinical practice period. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and themes formulated.
Results
Students perceived alteration in the content of the education at the Master's level such as more independence and additional assignments. The preceptors perceived benefits with the Master's level but were unsure of how to transform theoretical and abstract knowledge into practice. Writing the Master's thesis was seen by students to take time away from clinical practice. For some students and preceptors the content of the Master's level clinical practice area was experienced as vague and indistinct. The students had not expected supervision to be different from earlier experiences, while preceptors felt higher demands and requested more knowledge. Both students and preceptors perceived that education at the Master's level might lead to a higher status for the nurses' profession in primary health care.
Conclusions
Students and preceptors experienced both advantages and disadvantages concerning the change in specialist nurse education in primary health care at the Master's level. The altered educational content was experienced as a step forward, but they also questioned how the new knowledge could be used in practice. The relevance of the Master's thesis was questioned. Supervision was seen by students as an introduction to the work of the district nurses' work. Preceptors perceived high demands and did not feel enough qualified for student supervision. Both groups considered it an advantage with the change in education that could result in higher status for nurses working in primary health care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6955-9-11
PMCID: PMC2904288  PMID: 20553620
17.  Understanding the 'four directions of travel': qualitative research into the factors affecting recruitment and retention of doctors in rural Vietnam 
Background
Motivation and retention of health workers, particularly in rural areas, is a question of considerable interest to policy-makers internationally. Many countries, including Vietnam, are debating the right mix of interventions to motivate doctors in particular to work in remote areas. The objective of this study was to understand the dynamics of the health labour market in Vietnam, and what might encourage doctors to accept posts and remain in-post in rural areas.
Methods
This study forms part of a labour market survey which was conducted in Vietnam in November 2009 to February 2010. The study had three stages. This article describes the findings of the first stage - the qualitative research and literature review, which fed into the design of a structured survey (second stage) and contingent valuation (third stage). For the qualitative research, three tools were used - key informant interviews at national and provincial level (6 respondents); in-depth interviews of doctors at district and commune levels (11 respondents); and focus group discussions with medical students (15 participants).
Results
The study reports on the perception of the problem by national level stakeholders; the motivation for joining the profession by doctors; their views on the different factors affecting their willingness to work in rural areas (including different income streams, working conditions, workload, equipment, support and supervision, relationships with colleagues, career development, training, and living conditions). It presents findings on their overall satisfaction, their ranking of different attributes, and willingness to accept different kinds of work. Finally, it discusses recent and possible policy interventions to address the distribution problem.
Conclusions
Four typical 'directions of travel' are identified for Vietnamese doctors - from lower to higher levels of the system, from rural to urban areas, from preventive to curative health and from public to private practice. Substantial differences in income from formal and informal sources all reinforce these preferences. While non-financial attributes are also important for Vietnamese doctors, the scale of the difference of opportunities presents a considerable policy challenge. Significant salary increases for doctors in hard-to-staff areas are likely to have some impact. However, addressing the differentials is likely to require broader market reforms and regulatory measures.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-9-20
PMCID: PMC3169448  PMID: 21849045
18.  Web-Based Virtual Patients in Nursing Education: Development and Validation of Theory-Anchored Design and Activity Models 
Background
Research has shown that nursing students find it difficult to translate and apply their theoretical knowledge in a clinical context. Virtual patients (VPs) have been proposed as a learning activity that can support nursing students in their learning of scientific knowledge and help them integrate theory and practice. Although VPs are increasingly used in health care education, they still lack a systematic consistency that would allow their reuse outside of their original context. There is therefore a need to develop a model for the development and implementation of VPs in nursing education.
Objective
The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a virtual patient model optimized to the learning and assessment needs in nursing education.
Methods
The process of modeling started by reviewing theoretical frameworks reported in the literature and used by practitioners when designing learning and assessment activities. The Outcome-Present State Test (OPT) model was chosen as the theoretical framework. The model was then, in an iterative manner, developed and optimized to the affordances of virtual patients. Content validation was performed with faculty both in terms of the relevance of the chosen theories but also its applicability in nursing education. The virtual patient nursing model was then instantiated in two VPs. The students’ perceived usefulness of the VPs was investigated using a questionnaire. The result was analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results
A virtual patient Nursing Design Model (vpNDM) composed of three layers was developed. Layer 1 contains the patient story and ways of interacting with the data, Layer 2 includes aspects of the iterative process of clinical reasoning, and finally Layer 3 includes measurable outcomes. A virtual patient Nursing Activity Model (vpNAM) was also developed as a guide when creating VP-centric learning activities. The students perceived the global linear VPs as a relevant learning activity for the integration of theory and practice.
Conclusions
Virtual patients that are adapted to the nursing paradigm can support nursing students’ development of clinical reasoning skills. The proposed virtual patient nursing design and activity models will allow the systematic development of different types of virtual patients from a common model and thereby create opportunities for sharing pedagogical designs across technical solutions.
doi:10.2196/jmir.2556
PMCID: PMC4004162  PMID: 24727709
virtual patient; patient simulation; nursing education; clinical reasoning; e-learning, simulation technology
19.  Exploring the views of second‐year Foundation Programme doctors and their educational supervisors during a deanery‐wide pilot Foundation Programme 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  2006;82(974):813-816.
Aim
To explore the views of second‐year Foundation Programme doctors (F2s) and their educational supervisors taking part in a deanery‐wide pilot Foundation Programme, in order to gain an understanding of their perceptions of the available learning experiences, support and supervision.
Methods
20 semi‐structured interviews were undertaken with randomly selected F2 doctors and educational supervisors participating in the deanery‐wide pilot Foundation Programme.
Results
F2 trainees received appropriate and sufficient support and supervision from a variety of sources during their placements; however, it was believed that additional training of educational supervisors was required. Trainees reported some problems with the perception of the role of an F2; further understanding of the purpose and role of the F2 programme is required at trust level. The portfolio was viewed positively as a record and a learning tool, but was thought to be too bureaucratic. Trainees believed that it was more beneficial to their careers to take part in a foundation programme as opposed to a traditional senior house officer post, but both trainees and educational supervisors expressed some concerns about the generic nature of some skills F2s were expected to acquire.
Conclusions
This evaluation has highlighted successful aspects of the Foundation Programme, particularly with regard to the level of support and range of experiences provided for trainees. Issues of concern to both trainees and educational supervisors have been identified, which require additional understanding.
doi:10.1136/pgmj.2006.049676
PMCID: PMC2653929  PMID: 17148705
foundation programme; trainees; educational supervisors; qualitative; teaching and learning
20.  Scientific dishonesty—a nationwide survey of doctoral students in Norway 
BMC Medical Ethics  2013;14:3.
Background
The knowledge of scientific dishonesty is scarce and heterogeneous. Therefore this study investigates the experiences with and the attitudes towards various forms of scientific dishonesty among PhD-students at the medical faculties of all Norwegian universities.
Method
Anonymous questionnaire distributed to all post graduate students attending introductory PhD-courses at all medical faculties in Norway in 2010/2011. Descriptive statistics.
Results
189 of 262 questionnaires were returned (72.1%). 65% of the respondents had not, during the last year, heard or read about researchers who committed scientific dishonesty. One respondent had experienced pressure to fabricate and to falsify data, and one had experienced pressure to plagiarize data. On average 60% of the respondents were uncertain whether their department had a written policy concerning scientific conduct. About 11% of the respondents had experienced unethical pressure concerning the order of authors during the last 12 months. 10% did not find it inappropriate to report experimental data without having conducted the experiment and 38% did not find it inappropriate to try a variety of different methods of analysis to find a statistically significant result. 13% agreed that it is acceptable to selectively omit contradictory results to expedite publication and 10% found it acceptable to falsify or fabricate data to expedite publication, if they were confident of their findings. 79% agreed that they would be willing to report misconduct to a responsible official.
Conclusion
Although there is less scientific dishonesty reported in Norway than in other countries, dishonesty is not unknown to doctoral students. Some forms of scientific misconduct are considered to be acceptable by a significant minority. There was little awareness of relevant policies for scientific conduct, but a high level of willingness to report misconduct.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-14-3
PMCID: PMC3545724  PMID: 23289954
Dishonesty; Fabrication; Falsification; Plagiarism; Misconduct
21.  Career shift phenomenon among doctors in tacloban city, philippines: lessons for retention of health workers in developing countries 
Background
At the height of the global demand for nurses in the 1990s, a phenomenon of grave concern arose. A significant number of medical doctors in the Philippines shifted careers in order to seek work as nurses overseas. The obvious implications of such a trend require inquiry as to the reasons for it; hence, this cross-sectional study. The data in the study compared factors such as personal circumstances, job satisfaction/dissatisfaction, perceived benefits versus costs of the alternative job, and the role of social networks/linkages among doctors classified as career shifters and non-shifters.
Methodology
A combined qualitative and quantitative method was utilized in the study. Data gathered came from sixty medical doctors practicing in three major hospitals in Tacloban City, Philippines, and from a special nursing school also located in the same city. Respondents were chosen through a non-probability sampling, specifically through a chain referral sampling owing to the controversial nature of the research. A set of pre-set criteria was used to qualify doctors as shifters and non-shifters. Cross-tabulation was carried out to highlight the differences between the two groups. Finally, the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test was utilized to assess if these differences were significant.
Results
Among the different factors investigated, results of the study indicated that the level of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction and certain socio-demographic factors such as age, length of medical practice, and having children to support, were significantly different among shifters and non-shifters at p ≤ 0.05. This suggested that such factors had a bearing on the intention to shift to a nursing career among physicians.
Conclusion
Taken in the context of the medical profession, it was the level of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction that was the immediate antecedent in the intention to shift careers among medical doctors. Personal factors, specifically age, support of children, and the length of medical practice gained explanatory power when they were linked to job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. On the other hand, factors such as perceived benefits and costs of the alternative job and the impact of social networks did not differ between shifters and non-shifters. It would then indicate that efforts to address the issue of physician retention need to go beyond economic incentives and deal with other sources of satisfaction or dissatisfaction among practicing physicians. Since this was an exploratory study in a particular locale in central Philippines, similar studies in other parts of the country need to be done to gain better understanding of this phenomenon at a national level.
doi:10.1186/1447-056X-10-13
PMCID: PMC3204289  PMID: 21977902
Career-shift; doctors; nurses; immigration/emigration/migration; retention; health workers; job satisfaction/dissatisfaction
22.  Doctoral Programs to Train Future Leaders in Clinical and Translational Science 
Purpose
Although the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has made extensive investments in educational programs related to clinical and translational science (CTS), there has been no systematic investigation of the number and characteristics of PhD programs providing training to future leaders in CTS. The authors undertook to determine the number of institutions that, having had received NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs), currently had or were developing PhD programs in CTS; to examine differences between programs developed before and after CTSA funding; and to provide detailed characteristics of new programs.
Method
In 2012, CTS program leaders at the 60 CTSA-funded institutions completed a cross-sectional survey focusing on four key domains related to PhD programs in CTS: program development and oversight; students; curriculum and research; and milestones.
Results
Twenty-two institutions had fully developed PhD programs in CTS, and 268 students were earning a PhD in this new field; 13 institutions were planning a PhD program. New programs were more likely to have fully developed PhD competencies and more likely to include students in medical school, students working only on their PhD, students working on a first doctoral degree, and students working in T1 translational research. They were less likely to include physicians and students working in clinical or T2 research.
Conclusions
Although CTS PhD programs have similarities, they also vary in their characteristics and management of students. This may be due to diversity in translational science itself or to the relative infancy of CTS as a discipline.
doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829e7bce
PMCID: PMC3845359  PMID: 23899901
23.  Doctors’ views about training and future careers expressed one year after graduation by UK-trained doctors: questionnaire surveys undertaken in 2009 and 2010 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14(1):270.
Background
The UK medical graduates of 2008 and 2009 were among the first to experience a fully implemented, new, UK training programme, called the Foundation Training Programme, for junior doctors. We report doctors’ views of the first Foundation year, based on comments made as part of a questionnaire survey covering career choices, plans, and experiences.
Methods
Postal and email based questionnaires about career intentions, destinations and views were sent in 2009 and 2010 to all UK medical graduates of 2008 and 2009. This paper is a qualitative study of ‘free-text’ comments made by first-year doctors when invited to comment, if they wished, on any aspect of their work, education, training, and future.
Results
The response rate to the surveys was 48% (6220/12952); and 1616 doctors volunteered comments. Of these, 61% wrote about their first year of training, 35% about the working conditions they had experienced, 33% about how well their medical school had prepared them for work, 29% about their future career, 25% about support from peers and colleagues, 22% about working in medicine, and 15% about lifestyle issues. When concerns were expressed, they were commonly about the balance between service provision, administrative work, and training and education, with the latter often suffering when it conflicted with the needs of medical service provision. They also wrote that the quality of a training post often depended on the commitment of an individual senior doctor. Service support from seniors was variable and some respondents complained of a lack of team work and team ethic. Excessive hours and the lack of time for reflection and career planning before choices about the future had to be made were also mentioned. Some doctors wrote that their views were not sought by their hospital and that NHS management structures did not lend themselves to efficiency. UK graduates from non-UK homes felt insecure about their future career prospects in the UK. There were positive comments about opportunities to train flexibly.
Conclusions
Although reported problems should be considered in the wider context, in which the majority held favourable overall views, many who commented had been disappointed by aspects of their first year of work. We hope that the concerns raised by our respondents will prompt trainers, locally, to determine, by interaction with junior staff, whether or not these are concerns in their own training programme.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12909-014-0270-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12909-014-0270-5
PMCID: PMC4302441  PMID: 25528260
Medical careers; Junior doctors; Medical education; Foundation training
24.  Vocation, Friendship and Resilience: A Study Exploring Nursing Student and Staff Views on Retention and Attrition 
The Open Nursing Journal  2013;7:149-156.
Introduction:
There is international concern about retention of student nurses on undergraduate programmes. United Kingdom Higher Education Institutions are monitored on their attrition statistics and can be penalised financially, so they have an incentive to help students remain on their programmes beyond their moral duty to ensure students receive the best possible educational experience.
Aims:
to understand students’ and staff concerns about programmes and placements as part of developing our retention strategies.
Design:
This study reports qualitative data on retention and attrition collected as part of an action research study.
Setting:
One University School of Nursing and Midwifery in the South West of England.
Participants:
Staff, current third year and ex-student nurses from the adult field.
Methods:
Data were collected in focus groups, both face-to face and virtual, and individual telephone interviews. These were transcribed and subjected to qualitative content analysis.
Results:
Four themes emerged: Academic support, Placements and mentors, Stresses and the reality of nursing life, and Dreams for a better programme.
Conclusions:
The themes Academic support, Placements and mentors and Stresses and the reality of nursing life, resonate with international literature. Dreams for a better programme included smaller group learning. Vocation, friendship and resilience seem instrumental in retaining students, and Higher Education Institutions should work to facilitate these. ‘Vocation’ has been overlooked in the retention discussions, and working more actively to foster vocation and belongingness could be important.
doi:10.2174/1874434601307010149
PMCID: PMC3807580  PMID: 24167537
Student nurse; retention; qualitative research; action research.
25.  Evidence‐based medicine: assessment of knowledge of basic epidemiological and research methods among medical doctors 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  2006;82(974):817-822.
Background
An understanding of statistical methods and basic epidemiology are crucial for the practice of modern medicine.
Aims
To assess (1) the knowledge of basic methods of conducting research and data analysis among residents and practicing doctors and (2) the effect of country of medical school graduation, professional status, medical article reading and writing experience on the level of this knowledge.
Methods
Data were collected by means of a supervised self‐administered questionnaire, which was distributed among doctors at Soroka Medical Center, Beer‐Sheva, Israel. The questionnaire included 10 multiple‐choice questions on basic epidemiology and statistics, and respondent demographical data.
Results
Of the 260 eligible doctors, 219 (84.2%) returned completed questionnaires. Of the 219 doctors, 50% graduated more than 8.5 years ago, 39.7% were specialists and the remaining were residents. The most frequent specialty was internal medicine (37.4%). Israel was the most frequent country of graduation (45.7%), followed by the former Soviet Union (Eastern medical education; 38.4%). The median total score of knowledge was 4 of 10 questions (interquartile range 2–6). A higher score was associated with a Western medical education, being a specialist, shorter elapsed time since graduation, higher number of publications and self‐reported reading of “methods” and “discussion” sections in scientific articles.
Conclusion
This study found a low level of knowledge of basic principles of research methods and data analysis among doctors, and this knowledge considerably differed by country of medical school graduation.
doi:10.1136/pgmj.2006.049262
PMCID: PMC2653930  PMID: 17148706
evidence‐based medicine; epidemiological methods; statistics; doctor; knowledge

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