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1.  Physical activity education in the undergraduate curricula of all UK medical schools. Are tomorrow's doctors equipped to follow clinical guidelines? 
British Journal of Sports Medicine  2012;46(14):1024-1026.
Physical activity (PA) is a cornerstone of disease prevention and treatment. There is, however, a considerable disparity between public health policy, clinical guidelines and the delivery of physical activity promotion within the National Health Service in the UK. If this is to be addressed in the battle against non-communicable diseases, it is vital that tomorrow's doctors understand the basic science and health benefits of physical activity. The aim of this study was to assess the provision of physical activity teaching content in the curricula of all medical schools in the UK. Our results, with responses from all UK medical schools, uncovered some alarming findings, showing that there is widespread omission of basic teaching elements, such as the Chief Medical Officer recommendations and guidance on physical activity. There is an urgent need for physical activity teaching to have dedicated time at medical schools, to equip tomorrow's doctors with the basic knowledge, confidence and skills to promote physical activity and follow numerous clinical guidelines that support physical activity promotion.
PMCID: PMC3856633  PMID: 22846233
2.  Trauma Training for Nonorthopaedic Doctors in Low- and Middle-income Countries 
Increasingly, nonspecialist Ghanaian doctors in district hospitals are called upon to perform a variety of surgical procedures for which they have little or no training. They are also required to provide initial stabilization for the injured and, in some cases, provide definitive management where referral is not possible. Elsewhere continuing medical education courses in trauma have improved the delivery of trauma care. Development of such courses must meet the realities of a low-income country. The Department of Surgery, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology developed a week-long trauma continuing medical education course for doctors in rural districts. The course was introduced in 1997, and has been run annually since. The trauma course specifically addresses the critical issues of trauma care in Ghana. It has improved the knowledge base of doctors, as well as their self-reported process of trauma care. Through the process we have learned lessons that could help in the efforts to improve trauma training and trauma care in other low-income countries.
PMCID: PMC2584316  PMID: 18688692
3.  Who are the doctor bloggers and what do they want? 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2007;335(7621):644-645.
Medical blogs are sometimes seen as just rants about the state of health care, but they have also been credited with spreading public understanding of science and rooting out modern day quacks. Rebecca Coombes checks out the medical blogosphere
PMCID: PMC1995481  PMID: 17901512
4.  Practice of Physical Activity among Future Doctors: A Cross Sectional Analysis 
Non communicable diseases (NCD) will account for 73% of deaths and 60% of the global disease burden by 2020. Physical activity plays a major role in the prevention of these non-communicable diseases. The stress involved in meeting responsibilities of becoming a physician may adversely affect the exercise habits of students. So, the current study aimed to study the practice of physical activity among undergraduate medical students.
A cross sectional study was conducted among 240 undergraduate medical students. Quota sampling method was used to identify 60 students from each of the four even semesters. A pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect the data. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16 was used for data entry and analysis and results are expressed as percentages and proportions.
In our study, 55% were 20 to 22 years old. Over half of the students were utilizing the sports facilities provided by the university in the campus. Majority of students 165 (69%) had normal body mass index (BMI), (51) 21% were overweight, while 7 (3%) were obese. Of the 62% who were currently exercising, the practice of physical activity was more among boys as compared to girls (62% v/s 38%). Lack of time 46 (60.5%), laziness (61.8%), and exhaustion from academic activities (42%) were identified as important hindering factors among medical students who did not exercise.
A longitudinal study to follow-up student behavior throughout their academic life is needed to identify the factors promoting the practice of physical activity among students.
PMCID: PMC3372079  PMID: 22708033
Body mass index; lack of time; medical students; physical activity; stamina
5.  Alternative medicine: methinks the doctor protests too much and incidentally befuddles the debate. 
Journal of Medical Ethics  1992;18(1):23-25.
Dr Kottow in his paper Classical medicine v alternative medical practices (1) places the alternative/orthodox medicine debate within an historical context of anti-quackery literature. My paper explores the nature of science as it is applied to clinical practice and challenges the narrow view of the diagnostic process as outlined by Dr Kottow. Research methodologies more appropriate to 'whole person' medicine are suggested as having more ethical value than those based on the clinical trial.
PMCID: PMC1376080  PMID: 1573645
6.  Graduates from a reformed undergraduate medical curriculum based on Tomorrow's Doctors evaluate the effectiveness of their curriculum 6 years after graduation through interviews 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:65.
In 1996 Liverpool reformed its medical curriculum from a traditional lecture based course to a curriculum based on the recommendations in Tomorrow's Doctors. A project has been underway since 2000 to evaluate this change. This paper focuses on the views of graduates from that reformed curriculum 6 years after they had graduated.
Between 2007 and 2009 45 interviews took place with doctors from the first two cohorts to graduate from the reformed curriculum.
The interviewees felt like they had been clinically well prepared to work as doctors and in particular had graduated with good clinical and communication skills and had a good knowledge of what the role of doctor entailed. They also felt they had good self directed learning and research skills. They did feel their basic science knowledge level was weaker than traditional graduates and perceived they had to work harder to pass postgraduate exams. Whilst many had enjoyed the curriculum and in particular the clinical skills resource centre and the clinical exposure of the final year including the "shadowing" and A & E attachment they would have liked more "structure" alongside the PBL when learning the basic sciences.
According to the graduates themselves many of the aims of curriculum reform have been met by the reformed curriculum and they were well prepared clinically to work as doctors. However, further reforms may be needed to give confidence to science knowledge acquisition.
PMCID: PMC2956712  PMID: 20920263
7.  Frequency of Smoking and Specialized Awareness among Doctors and Nurses of Hospitals in Kerman, Iran 
Addiction & Health  2013;5(1-2):51-56.
Nicotine is one of the strongest poisons. Every year about 75 thousand of Iranians die due to smoking. Since doctors and nurses have a major role in controlling smoking, this study tried to investigate the prevalence of cigarette smoking among doctors and nurses and their awareness about the effects of smoking.
This descriptive study was conducted on all doctors (n = 150) and nurses (n = 400) of hospitals affiliated with Kerman University of Medical Sciences (Kerman, Iran). Data was collected through a questionnaire with reliability of 0.8 and validity of 0.79. It consisted of two parts to assess demographic characteristics of the participants and their awareness about the side effects of smoking. Their awareness was ranked from poor to excellent based on the number of correct answers. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney tests were then used to analyze the collected data.
Of 550 questionnaires, 524 were completed (51.3% by the nurses and 48.7% by the doctors. While 21.2% of all participants smoked cigarettes, 71.8% of doctors and 95.3% of nurses did not smoke. The levels of awareness among nurses and doctors were determined as poor and moderate, respectively.
The higher prevalence of smoking among nurses confirms the significance of education. The level of awareness among the studied doctors and nurses was not desirable. Enhancing the awareness and attitude of medical staff will improve not only their own performance but also the behavioral pattern of the society.
PMCID: PMC3905567  PMID: 24494158
Cigarette; Smoking; Doctors; Nurses; Knowledge
8.  Doctors on display: the evolution of television's doctors 
Doctors have been portrayed on television for over 50 years. In that time, their character has undergone significant changes, evolving from caring but infallible supermen with smoldering good looks and impeccable bedside manners to drug-addicted, sex-obsessed antiheroes. This article summarizes the major programs of the genre and explains the pattern of the TV doctors' character changes. Articulated over time in the many permutations of the doctor character is a complex, constant conversation between viewer and viewed representing public attitudes towards doctors, medicine, and science.
PMCID: PMC2943455  PMID: 20944763
9.  Moral Controversy, Directive Counsel, and the Doctor’s Role: Findings From a National Survey of Obstetrician–Gynecologists 
To explore physicians’ attitudes toward providing directive counsel when dealing with morally controversial medical decisions, and to examine associations between physicians’ opinions and their demographic and religious characteristics.
In 2008–2009, the authors mailed a survey to a stratified, random sample of 1,800 U.S. obstetrician–gynecologists. They asked participants whether, when dealing with either typical or morally controversial medical decisions, “a physician should encourage patients to make the decision that the physician believes is best.”
Among eligible physicians, the response rate was 66%. Fifty-four percent of respondents rejected the use of directive counsel for typical medical decisions; 78% did so for morally controversial medical decisions. Physicians were less likely to refrain from directive counsel for typical medical decisions if they were older and foreign-born but more likely to refrain from directive counsel if they were more theologically pluralistic. Theological pluralism was the only characteristic significantly associated with refraining from directive counsel for morally controversial medical decisions.
Providing nondirective counsel to their patients appears to have become the norm among certain obstetrician–gynecologists in the United States, particularly when dealing with morally controversial medical decisions. These physicians tend to be female, younger, U.S.-born, and more theologically pluralistic. Shifts toward refraining from directive counsel seem to relate to shifts in physicians’ demographic, cultural, and religious characteristics.
PMCID: PMC3634119  PMID: 20736675
10.  How do medical doctors use a web-based oncology protocol system? A comparison of Australian doctors at different levels of medical training using logfile analysis and an online survey 
Electronic decision support is commonplace in medical practice. However, its adoption at the point-of-care is dependent on a range of organisational, patient and clinician-related factors. In particular, level of clinical experience is an important driver of electronic decision support uptake. Our objective was to examine the way in which Australian doctors at different stages of medical training use a web-based oncology system (
We used logfiles to examine the characteristics of eviQ registrants (2009–2012) and patterns of eviQ use in 2012, according to level of medical training. We also used a web-based survey to evaluate the way doctors at different levels of medical training use the online system and to elicit perceptions of the system’s utility in oncology care.
Our study cohort comprised 2,549 eviQ registrants who were hospital-based medical doctors across all levels of training. 65% of the cohort used eviQ in 2012, with 25% of interns/residents, 61% of advanced oncology trainees and 47% of speciality-qualified oncologists accessing eviQ in the last 3 months of 2012. The cohort accounted for 445,492 webhits in 2012. On average, advanced trainees used eviQ up to five-times more than other doctors (42.6 webhits/month compared to 22.8 for specialty-qualified doctors and 7.4 webhits/month for interns/residents). Of the 52 survey respondents, 89% accessed eviQ’s chemotherapy protocols on a daily or weekly basis in the month prior to the survey. 79% of respondents used eviQ at least weekly to initiate therapy and to support monitoring (29%), altering (35%) or ceasing therapy (19%). Consistent with the logfile analysis, advanced oncology trainees report more frequent eviQ use than doctors at other stages of medical training.
The majority of the Australian oncology workforce are registered on eviQ. The frequency of use directly mirrors the clinical role of doctors and attitudes about the utility of eviQ in decision-making. Evaluations of this kind generate important data for system developers and medical educators to drive improvements in electronic decision support to better meet the needs of clinicians. This end-user focus will optimise the uptake of systems which will translate into improvements in processes of care and patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3750334  PMID: 23915178
Clinical decision support systems; Evidence-based practice; Medical education; Cancer chemotherapy protocols; Health personnel; ‘Medical staff; Hospital’
11.  Duties of a doctor: UK doctors and Good Medical Practice 
Quality in Health Care : QHC  2000;9(1):14-22.
Objective—To assess the responses of UK doctors to the General Medical Council's (GMC) Good Medical Practice and the Duties of a Doctor, and to the GMC's performance procedures for which they provide the professional underpinning.
Design—Questionnaire study of a representative sample of UK doctors.
Subjects—794 UK doctors, stratified by year of qualification, sex, place of qualification (UK v non-UK), and type of practice (hospital v general practice) of whom 591/759 (78%) replied to the questionnaire (35 undelivered).
Main outcome measures—A specially written questionnaire asking about awareness of Good Medical Practice, agreement with Duties of a Doctor, amount heard about the performance procedures, changes in own practice, awareness of cases perhaps requiring performance procedures, and attitudes to the performance procedures. Background measures of stress (General Health Questionnaire, GHQ-12), burnout, responses to uncertainty, and social desirability.
Results—Most doctors were aware of Good Medical Practice, had heard the performance procedures being discussed or had received information about them, and agreed with the stated duties of a doctor, although some items to do with doctor-patient communication and attitudes were more controversial. Nearly half of the doctors had made or were contemplating some change in their practice because of the performance procedures; a third of doctors had come across a case in the previous two years in their own professional practice that they thought might merit the performance procedures. Attitudes towards the performance procedures were variable. On the positive side, 60% or more of doctors saw them as reassuring the general public, making it necessary for doctors to report deficient performance in their colleagues, did not think they would impair morale, were not principally window dressing, and were not only appropriate for problems of technical competence. On the negative side, 60% or more of doctors thought the performance procedures were not well understood by most doctors, were a reason for more defensive practice, and could not be used for problems of attitude. Few differences were found among older and younger doctors, hospital doctors, or general practitioners, or UK and non-UK graduates, although some differences were present.
Conclusions—Most doctors working in the UK are aware of Good Medical Practice and the performance procedures, and are in broad sympathy with Duties of a Doctor. Many attitudes expressed by doctors are not positive, however, and provide areas where the GMC in particular may wish to encourage further discussion and awareness. The present results provide a good baseline for assessing change as the performance procedures become active and cases come before the GMC over the next few years.
(Quality in Health Care 2000;9:14–22)
Key Words: performance procedures; good medical practice; duties; attitudes; knowledge
PMCID: PMC1743494  PMID: 10848365
12.  Doctor's perception of doctor-patient relationships in emergency departments: What roles do gender and ethnicity play? 
Emergency departments continuously provide medical treatment on a walk-in basis. Several studies investigated the patient's perception of the doctor-patient relationship, but few have asked doctors about their views. Furthermore, the influence of the patient's ethnicity and gender on the doctor's perception remains largely unanswered.
Based on data collated in three gynaecology (GYN)/internal medicine (INT) emergency departments in Berlin, Germany, we evaluated the impact of the patient's gender and ethnicity on the doctors' satisfaction with the course of the treatment they provided. Information was gathered from 2.429 short questionnaires completed by doctors and the medical records of the corresponding patients.
The patient's ethnicity had a significant impact on the doctors' satisfaction with the doctor-patient relationship. Logistic regression analysis showed that the odds ratio (OR) for physician satisfaction was significantly lower for patients of Turkish origin (OR = 2.6 INT and 5.5 GYN) than for those of German origin. The main reasons stated were problems with communication and a perceived lack of urgency for emergency treatment. The odds ratios for dissatisfaction due to a lack of language skills were 4.48 (INT) and 6.22 (GYN), and those due to perceived lack of urgency for emergency treatment were 0.75 (INT) and 0.63 (GYN). Sex differences caused minor variation.
The results show that good communication despite language barriers is crucial in providing medical care that is satisfactory to both patient and doctors, especially in emergency situations. Therefore the use of professional interpreters for improved communication and the training of medical staff for improved intercultural competence are essential for the provision of adequate health care in a multicultural setting.
PMCID: PMC2329628  PMID: 18405351
13.  Medically unexplained symptoms in young people: The doctor’s dilemma 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2008;13(6):487-491.
Medically unexplained symptoms in young people can present a challenge for primary care physicians to manage. Despite the prevalence of this clinical problem, physicians feel ill-equipped to deal with it. Families may attribute symptoms to an organic cause, despite the absence of identified pathology, and often resist considering psychosocial contributing factors. The present article outlines the key principles in the management of medically unexplained symptoms. Treatment focuses on building a therapeutic alliance with the patient and the family, the use of psychotherapeutic interventions and the role of psychopharmacology. A family-oriented rehabilitative approach to care, with a focus on functional improvement rather than symptom reduction, is emphasized.
PMCID: PMC2532910  PMID: 19436430
Medically unexplained; Paediatric management; Symptoms
14.  Disparities in mortality among doctors in Taiwan: a 17-year follow-up study of 37 545 doctors 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000382.
The authors used cohort data from the registry of all doctors in Taiwan to determine if the effect of health disparities exists after control of potential confounding by different occupational exposures in different specialties.
Retrospective cohort study, 1990–2006.
The Taiwan Medical Association.
A total of 37 545 doctors from the registry of the doctor file maintained by the Taiwan Medical Association. The registry has been required by the governmental regulation for verification of credentials of all practicing doctors.
Main outcome measures
Cause-specific standardised mortality ratios for surgeons and anaesthesiologists were compared with those of the internists. The Cox proportional hazard model was constructed to explore multiple risk factors for mortality, including specialties, age, gender, geographic region of practices, regional health resources, ages of beginning practices and years of beginning practice.
The all-cause-specific standardised mortality ratios for surgeons and anaesthesiologists were marginally elevated at 1.15 (95% CI 0.98 to 1.34) and 1.62 (95% CI 0.93 to 2.64), respectively. The Cox regression model showed that the anaesthesiologists had the highest HR of 1.97, seconded by surgeons at 1.23. Localities with the doctor-to-population ratio lower than 1:500 were associated with an increased HR of doctor mortality.
The doctor-to-population ratio and the region of practice may influence doctor's mortality. Increasing number of doctors and/or improving the practice environment may be helpful in reducing the health disparities in regions with poor resources.
Article summary
Article focus
To determine if the effect of health disparities exists after control of potential confounding by different occupational exposures in different specialties.
Key messages
All factors leading to health disparities also influence the mortality rates of healthcare providers, including doctors who practiced in such locality.
Increasing the numbers of doctors and/or improving the practice environment may be helpful in reducing the health disparities of both the general public and the doctors residing in a region with poor resources.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The cohort data include all practicing doctors in Taiwan.
We use internists as the reference population for standardised mortality ratios calculation to minimise the potential confounding by different socioeconomic states.
Possible misclassification of self-claimed specialty may be a source of bias while comparing the mortality rates among different specialties.
Information was limited about the hospital level and location practiced, that is, misclassification of the region of practice without differentiating primary/referral hospital and urban/rural setting.
PMCID: PMC3282284  PMID: 22337815
15.  Helping doctors become better doctors: Mary Lobjoit—an unsung heroine of medical ethics in the UK 
Journal of Medical Ethics  2012;38(6):383-385.
Medical Ethics has many unsung heros and heroines. Here we celebrate one of these and on telling part of her story hope to place modern medical ethics and bioethics in the UK more centrally within its historical and human contex.
PMCID: PMC3359522  PMID: 22518049
Medical ethics; suicide/assisted suicide; rights; right to refuse treatment; resource allocation; bioethics
16.  Training tomorrow's doctors in diabetes: self-reported confidence levels, practice and perceived training needs of post-graduate trainee doctors in the UK. A multi-centre survey 
To assess the confidence, practices and perceived training needs in diabetes care of post-graduate trainee doctors in the UK.
An anonymised postal questionnaire using a validated 'Confidence Rating' (CR) scale was applied to aspects of diabetes care and administered to junior doctors from three UK hospitals. The frequency of aspects of day-to-day practice was assessed using a five-point scale with narrative description in combination with numeric values. Respondents had a choice of 'always' (100%), 'almost always' (80–99%), 'often' (50–79%), 'not very often' (20–49%) and 'rarely' (less than 20%). Yes/No questions were used to assess perception of further training requirements. Additional 'free-text' comments were also sought.
82 doctors completed the survey. The mean number of years since medical qualification was 3 years and 4 months, (range: 4 months to 14 years and 1 month). Only 11 of the respondents had undergone specific diabetes training since qualification.
4(5%) reported 'not confident' (CR1), 30 (37%) 'satisfactory but lacked confidence' (CR2), 25 (30%) felt 'confident in some cases' (CR3) and 23 (28%) doctors felt fully confident (CR4) in diagnosing diabetes. 12 (15%) doctors would always, 24 (29%) almost always, 20 (24%) often, 22 (27%) not very often and 4 (5%) rarely take the initiative to optimise gcaemic control. 5 (6%) reported training in diagnosis of diabetes was adequate while 59 (72%) would welcome more training. Reported confidence was better in managing diabetes emergencies, with 4 (5%) not confident in managing hypoglycaemia, 10 (12%) lacking confidence, 22 (27%) confident in some cases and 45 (55%) fully confident in almost all cases. Managing diabetic ketoacidosis, 5 (6%) doctors did not feel confident, 16 (20%) lacked confidence, 20 (24%) confident in some cases, and 40 (50%) felt fully confident in almost all cases.
There is a lack of confidence in managing aspects of diabetes care, including the management of diabetes emergencies, amongst postgraduate trainee doctors with a perceived need for more training. This may have considerable significance and further research is required to identify the causes of deficiencies identified in this study.
PMCID: PMC2358901  PMID: 18419804
17.  Is networking different with doctors working part-time? Differences in social networks of part-time and full-time doctors 
Part-time working is a growing phenomenon in medicine, which is expected to influence informal networks at work differently compared to full-time working. The opportunity to meet and build up social capital at work has offered a basis for theoretical arguments.
Twenty-eight teams of medical specialists in the Netherlands, including 226 individuals participated in this study. Interviews with team representatives and individual questionnaires were used. Data were gathered on three types of networks: relationships of consulting, communication and trust. For analyses, network and multilevel applications were used. Differences between individual doctors and between teams were both analysed, taking the dependency structure of the data into account, because networks of individual doctors are not independent. Teams were divided into teams with and without doctors working part-time.
Results and Discussion
Contrary to expectations we found no impact of part-time working on the size of personal networks, neither at the individual nor at the team level. The same was found regarding efficient reachability. Whereas we expected part-time doctors to choose their relations as efficiently as possible, we even found the opposite in intended relationships of trust, implying that efficiency in reaching each other was higher for full-time doctors. But we found as expected that in mixed teams with part-time doctors the frequency of regular communication was less compared to full-time teams. Furthermore, as expected the strength of the intended relationships of trust of part-time and full-time doctors was equally high.
From these findings we can conclude that part-time doctors are not aiming at efficiency by limiting the size of networks or by efficient reachability, because they want to contact their colleagues directly in order to prevent from communication errors. On the other hand, together with the growth of teams, we found this strategy, focussed on reaching all colleagues, was diminishing. And our data confirmed that formalisation was increasing together with the growth of teams.
PMCID: PMC2583974  PMID: 18834545
18.  Are we training junior doctors to respond to major incidents? A survey of doctors in the Wessex region 
Emergency Medicine Journal : EMJ  2004;21(5):577-579.
Methods: A telephone questionnaire of specialist registrars (SpRs) (or equivalent, for example, staff grade) in six core specialties was performed in all the 11 acute hospitals in the Wessex region on the same evening. This group was selected to represent a sample of the most senior medical staff "on site" at each hospital.
Results: 56 of 64 (87.5%) SpRs participated. Nine of the 56 (16%) SpRs questioned had previously been involved in a major incident, and 18 (32%) had experienced some form of major incident training exercise. Subgroup analysis of the specialties showed that although there were no significant differences in numbers of training experiences between specialties, only one of nine (11%) orthopaedic SpRs had ever been involved in a training exercise. Twenty five of the 56 (45%) SpRs felt that they were confident of their role in the event of an incident.
Conclusion: Most middle grade staff in Wessex were not confident of their role in the event of a major incident. Most SpRs questioned had never attended a major incident training exercise.
PMCID: PMC1726462  PMID: 15333535
19.  Doctor in the lab: what is it like for a doctor to work with scientists? 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1996;313(7061):867-869.
As clinical academic medical departments strive to improve the quality of their research, clinicians and scientists are forced into closer liaison. In many cases, clinical departments now have research laboratories directed by "basic scientists" but often staffed, in part at least, by doctors. To someone who has not worked in one, these laboratories may seem uncompromising and forbidding work environments. This article presents a "case report" written from the viewpoints of the doctor, the scientist, and the professor.
PMCID: PMC2359072  PMID: 8870579
20.  Career preferences of doctors who qualified in the United Kingdom in 1993 compared with those of doctors qualifying in 1974, 1977, 1980, and 1983. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1996;313(7048):19-24.
OBJECTIVE--To report the career preferences of doctors who qualified in the United Kingdom in 1993 and to compare their choices with those of earlier cohorts of qualifiers. DESIGN--Postal questionnaires with structured questions, including questions about choice of future long term career, were sent to doctors a year after qualification. SETTING--United Kingdom. SUBJECTS--All medical qualifiers of 1993, comparing their replies with those from earlier studies of the qualifiers of 1974, 1977, 1980, and 1983. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Choice of future long term career and certainty of choice expressed at the end of the first year after qualification. RESULTS--Questionnaires were sent to 3657 doctors. 2621 (71.7%) replied. Of the 2621 respondents, 70.5% (1849) stated that their first preference was for a career in hospital practice, 25.8% (677) specified general practice, 1.0% (25) specified public health medicine or community health, 1.4% (36) specified careers outside medicine, and 1.3% (34) did not state a choice. By contrast, 44.7% (1416/3168) of the doctors in the 1983 cohort had specified that their first preference was general practice. Among the 1993 qualifiers, general practice was the first career choice of 17.5% of men (227/1297) and 34.0% of women (450/1324). Only 7.4% of men (96/1297) stated that they definitely wanted to enter general practice. Only 7.8% (103/1324) of women qualifiers in 1993 expressed a career preference for surgical specialties. Within hospital practice, comparing 1993 with 1983, choices for the medical specialties and for accident and emergency medicine rose and those for pathology fell. Women were less definite than men about their choice of future long term career. CONCLUSIONS--If the 1993 cohort is typical of the current generation of young doctors, there has been a substantial shift away from general practice as a career choice expressed at the end of the preregistration year. General practice was much more popular among women than men. Few women opted for surgery. The sex imbalance in the percentage of doctors who choose different mainstreams of medical practice seems set to continue.
PMCID: PMC2351449  PMID: 8664763
21.  “Patient-Time,” “Doctor-Time,” and “Institution-Time”: Perceptions and Definitions of Time Among Doctors Who Become Patients 
Patient education and counseling  2006;66(2):147-155.
To examine views and experiences of conflicts concerning time in healthcare, from the perspective of physicians who have become patients.
We conducted two in-depth semi-structured two-hour interviews concerning experiences of being health care workers, and becoming a patient, with each of 50 doctors who had serious illnesses.
These doctor-patients often came to realize as they had not before how patients experience time differently, and how “patient-time,” “doctor-time,” and “institution-time” exist and can conflict. Differences arose in both long and short term, regarding historical time (prior eras/decades in medicine), prognosis (months/years), scheduling delays (days/weeks), daily medical events and tasks (hours), and periods in waiting rooms (minutes/hours). Definitions of periods of time (e.g., “fast,” “slow,” “plenty,” and “soon”) also varied widely, and could clash. Professional socialization had heretofore impeded awareness of these differences. Physicians tried to address these conflicts in several ways (e.g., trying to provide test results promptly), though full resolution remained difficult.
Doctors who became patients often now realized how physicians and patients differ in subjective experiences of time. Medical education and research have not adequately considered these issues, which can affect patient satisfaction, doctor-patient relationships and communication, and care.
Practice Implications
Physicians need to be more sensitive to how their definitions, perceptions, and experiences concerning time can differ from those of patients.
PMCID: PMC2950119  PMID: 17125956
Doctor-patient relationships; doctor-patient communication; medical education; patient satisfaction; medical ethics; medical socialization; health care delivery
22.  The cultural context of patient’s autonomy and doctor’s duty: passive euthanasia and advance directives in Germany and Israel 
The moral discourse surrounding end-of-life (EoL) decisions is highly complex, and a comparison of Germany and Israel can highlight the impact of cultural factors. The comparison shows interesting differences in how patient’s autonomy and doctor’s duties are morally and legally related to each other with respect to the withholding and withdrawing of medical treatment in EoL situations. Taking the statements of two national expert ethics committees on EoL in Israel and Germany (and their legal outcome) as an example of this discourse, we describe the similarity of their recommendations and then focus on the differences, including the balancing of ethical principles, what is identified as a problem, what social role professionals play, and the influence of history and religion. The comparison seems to show that Israel is more restrictive in relation to Germany, in contrast with previous bioethical studies in the context of the moral and legal discourse regarding the beginning of life, in which Germany was characterized as far more restrictive. We reflect on the ambivalence of the cultural reasons for this difference and its expression in various dissenting views on passive euthanasia and advance directives, and conclude with a comment on the difficulty in classifying either stance as more or less restrictive.
PMCID: PMC2949555  PMID: 20680469
Culture; End of life; Expert ethics committees; Doctors’ duties; German law; Living will; Israeli Law; Patients’ rights; Religion
23.  Depersonalised doctors: a cross-sectional study of 564 doctors, 760 consultations and 1876 patient reports in UK general practice 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000274.
The objectives of this study were to assess burnout in a sample of general practitioners (GPs), to determine factors associated with depersonalisation and to investigate its impact on doctors' consultations with patients.
Cross-sectional, postal survey of GPs using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). Patient survey and tape-recording of consultations for a subsample of respondents stratified by their MBI scores, gender and duration of General Medical Council registration.
UK general practice.
GPs within NHS Essex.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Scores on MBI subscales (depersonalisation, emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment); scores on Doctors' Interpersonal Skills Questionnaire and patient-centredness scores attributed to tape-recorded consultations by independent observers.
In the postal survey, 564/789 (71%) GPs completed the MBI. High levels of emotional exhaustion (261/564 doctors, 46%) and depersonalisation (237 doctors, 42%) and low levels of personal accomplishment (190 doctors, 34%) were reported. Depersonalisation scores were related to characteristics of the doctor and the practice. Male doctors reported significantly higher (p<0.001) depersonalisation than female doctors. Doctors registered with the General Medical Council under 20 years had significantly higher (p=0.005) depersonalisation scores than those registered for longer. Doctors in group practices had significantly higher (p=0.001) depersonalisation scores than single-handed practitioners. Thirty-eight doctors agreed to complete the patient survey (n=1876 patients) and audio-record consultations (n=760 consultations). Depersonalised doctors were significantly more likely (p=0.03) to consult with patients who reported seeing their ‘usual doctor’. There were no significant associations between doctors' depersonalisation and their patient-rated interpersonal skills or observed patient-centredness.
This is the largest number of doctors completing the MBI with the highest levels of depersonalisation reported. Despite experiencing substantial depersonalisation, doctors' feelings of burnout were not detected by patients or independent observers. Such levels of burnout are, however, worrying and imply a need for action by doctors themselves, their medical colleagues, professional bodies, healthcare organisations and the Department of Health.
Article summary
Article focus
A cross-sectional survey was designed to assess levels of burnout in a census sample of GPs in Essex, UK, and to determine which doctor- or practice-related variables predicted higher levels of burnout.
In the substudy, patients rated the interpersonal skills of their doctor and independent observers assessed the degree of patient-centredness in a sample of the doctors' audio-taped consultations.
Key messages
High levels of burnout were reported in the census survey—46% doctors reported emotional exhaustion, 42% reported depersonalisation and 34% reported low levels of personal accomplishment.
Doctors' depersonalisation scores could be predicted by a range of variables relating to the individual doctor and their practice, but higher depersonalisation scores were not associated with poorer patient ratings of the doctors' interpersonal skills or a reduction in the patient-centredness of their consultations.
While the professional practice and patient-centredness of consultations of the GPs in this study were not affected by feelings of burnout, there is a need to offer help and support for doctors who are experiencing this.
Strengths and limitations of this study
A high response rate (71%) was achieved in the census sample of GPs completing the MBI and a subsample of 38 doctors who satisfied the predetermined sample stratification consented to further assessment (patient survey and audio-taping of consultations).
The study was, however, limited to one county in the UK and thus cannot be extrapolated to other parts of the UK.
There was a differential response rate by the gender of the participant. Male doctors who were registered with the General Medical Council for >20 years were less likely to respond to the survey than their female counterparts.
PMCID: PMC3274717  PMID: 22300669
24.  Why UK-trained doctors leave the UK: cross-sectional survey of doctors in New Zealand 
To investigate factors which influenced UK-trained doctors to emigrate to New Zealand and factors which might encourage them to return.
Cross-sectional postal and Internet questionnaire survey.
Participants in New Zealand; investigators in UK.
UK-trained doctors from 10 graduation-year cohorts who were registered with the New Zealand Medical Council in 2009.
Main outcome measures
Reasons for emigration; job satisfaction; satisfaction with leisure time; intentions to stay in New Zealand; changes to the UK NHS which might increase the likelihood of return.
Of 38,821 UK-trained doctors in the cohorts, 535 (1.4%) were registered to practise in New Zealand. We traced 419, of whom 282 (67%) replied to our questionnaire. Only 30% had originally intended to emigrate permanently, but 89% now intended to stay. Sixty-nine percent had moved to take up a medical job. Seventy percent gave additional reasons for relocating to New Zealand including better lifestyle, to be with family, travel/working holiday, or disillusionment with the NHS. Respondents' mean job satisfaction score was 8.1 (95% CI 7.9–8.2) on a scale from 1 (lowest satisfaction) to 10 (highest), compared with 7.1 (7.1–7.2) for contemporaries in the UK NHS. Scored similarly, mean satisfaction with the time available for leisure was 7.8 (7.6–8.0) for the doctors in New Zealand, compared with 5.7 (5.6–5.7) for the NHS doctors. Although few respondents wanted to return to the UK, some stated that the likelihood of doctors' returning would be increased by changes to NHS working conditions and by administrative changes to ease the process.
Emigrant doctors in New Zealand had higher job satisfaction than their UK-based contemporaries, and few wanted to return. The predominant reason for staying in New Zealand was a preference for the lifestyle there.
PMCID: PMC3265234  PMID: 22275495
25.  Decision-Making of Older Patients in Context of the Doctor-Patient Relationship: A Typology Ranging from “Self-Determined” to “Doctor-Trusting” Patients 
Background. This qualitative study aims to gain insight into the perceptions and experiences of older patients with regard to sharing health care decisions with their general practitioners. Patients and Methods. Thirty-four general practice patients (≥70 years) were asked about their preferences and experiences concerning shared decision making with their doctors using qualitative semistructured interviews. All interviews were analysed according to principles of content analysis. The resulting categories were then arranged into a classification grid to develop a typology of preferences for participating in decision-making processes. Results. Older patients generally preferred to make decisions concerning everyday life rather than medical decisions, which they preferred to leave to their doctors. We characterised eight different patient types based on four interdependent positions (self-determination, adherence, information seeking, and trust). Experiences of a good doctor-patient relationship were associated with trust, reliance on the doctor for information and decision making, and adherence. Conclusion. Owing to the varied patient decision-making types, it is not easy for doctors to anticipate the desired level of patient involvement. However, the decision matter and the self-determination of patients provide good starting points in preparing the ground for shared decision making. A good relationship with the doctor facilitates satisfying decision-making experiences.
PMCID: PMC3652207  PMID: 23691317

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