A survey of newly qualified doctors in the UK in 2000/2001 found that 42% of them felt unprepared for their first year of employment in clinical posts. We report on how UK qualifiers' preparedness has changed since then, and on the impact of course changes upon preparedness.
Postal questionnaires were sent to all doctors who qualified from UK medical schools, in their first year of clinical work, in 2003 (n = 4257) and 2005 (n = 4784); and findings were compared with those in 2000/2001 (n = 5330). The response rates were 67% in 2000/2001, 65% in 2003, and 43% in 2005. The outcome measure was the percentage of doctors agreeing with the statement "My experience at medical school has prepared me well for the jobs I have undertaken so far".
In the 2000/2001 survey 36.3% strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, as did 50.3% in the 2003 survey and 58.5% in 2005 (chi-squared test for linear trend: χ2 = 259.5; df = 1; p < 0.001). Substantial variation in preparedness between doctors from different medical schools, reported in the first survey, was still present in 2003 and 2005. Between 1998 and 2006 all UK medical schools updated their courses. Within each cohort a significantly higher percentage of the respondents from schools with updated courses felt well prepared.
UK medical schools are now training doctors who feel better prepared for work than in the past. Some of the improvement may be attributable to curricular change.
Apart from objective exam results, the overall feeling of preparedness is important for a successful transition process from being a student to becoming a qualified doctor. This study examines the association between self-assessed deficits in medical skills and knowledge and the feeling of preparedness of junior doctors in order to determine which aspects of medical education need to be addressed in more detail in order to improve the quality of this transition phase and in order to increase patient safety.
A cohort of 637 doctors with up to two years of clinical work experience was included in this analysis and was asked about the overall feeling of preparedness and self-assessed deficits with regard to clinical knowledge and skills. Three logistic regression models were used to identify medical skills which predict the feeling of preparedness.
All in all, about 60% of the participating doctors felt poorly prepared for post-graduate training. Self-assessed deficits in ECG interpretation (aOR: 4.39; 95% CI: 2.012-9.578), treatment and therapy planning (aOR: 3.42; 95% CI: 1.366-8.555), and intubation (aOR: 2.10; 95% CI: 1.092-4.049) were found to be independently associated with the overall feeling of preparedness in the final regression model.
Many junior doctors in Germany felt inadequately prepared for being a doctor. With regard to the contents of medical curricula, our results show that more emphasis on ECG-interpretation, treatment and therapy planning and intubation is required to improve the feeling of preparedness of medical graduates.
Little is known about the attitude of newly qualified doctors towards intimate examination of children. During the 2 course of a training day in child protection, an exercise was undertaken to ask Foundation doctors (FY2) what impact they thought genitalia examination had on children. These responses have been compared with the only systematic examination of the response of children and their parents to such examinations that has been published.
The doctors in question believe such examinations to be more distressing than children or their parents appear to perceive. It is likely that such perceptions may inhibit newly qualified in efforts to acquire such skills that may not have been acquired as medical students. This may be an area of continuing difficulty for the future because of the changes in access to relevant learning experiences for medical students.
intimate examination; children; training; perception
New values and practices associated with medical professionalism have created an increased interest in the concept. In the United Kingdom, it is a current concern in medical education and in the development of doctor appraisal and revalidation.
To investigate how final year medical students experience and interpret new values of professionalism as they emerge in relation to confronting dying patients and as they potentially conflict with older values that emerge through hidden dimensions of the curriculum.
Qualitative study using interpretative discourse analysis of anonymized student reflective portfolios. One hundred twenty-three final year undergraduate medical students (64 male and 59 female) from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine supplied 116 portfolios from general practice and 118 from hospital settings about patients receiving palliative or end of life care.
Professional values were prevalent in all the portfolios. Students emphasised patient-centered, holistic care, synonymous with a more contemporary idea of professionalism, in conjunction with values associated with the ‘old’ model of professionalism that had not be directly taught to them. Integrating ‘new’ professional values was at times problematic. Three main areas of potential conflict were identified: ethical considerations, doctor-patient interaction and subjective boundaries. Students explicitly and implicitly discussed several tensions and described strategies to resolve them.
The conflicts outlined arise from the mix of values associated with different models of professionalism. Analysis indicates that ‘new’ models are not simply replacing existing elements. Whilst this analysis is of accounts from students within one UK medical school, the experience of conflict between different notions of professionalism and the three broad domains in which this conflict arises are relevant in other areas of medicine and in different national contexts.
medical professionalism; medical education; qualitative research; students’ reflections
Objectives To report on the country of training and ethnicity of consultants in different specialties in the NHS, on trends in intake to UK medical schools by ethnicity, and on the specialty choices made by UK medical graduates in different ethnic groups.
Design Analysis of official databases of consultants and of students accepted to study medicine; survey data about career choices made by newly qualified doctors.
Setting and subjects England and Wales (consultants), United Kingdom (students and newly qualified doctors).
Results Of consultants appointed before 1992, 15% had trained abroad; of those appointed in 1992-2001, 24% had trained abroad. The percentage of consultants who had trained abroad and were non-white was significantly high, compared with their overall percentage among consultants, in geriatric medicine, genitourinary medicine, paediatrics, old age psychiatry, and learning disability. UK trained non-white doctors had specialty destinations similar to those of UK trained white doctors. The percentage of UK medical graduates who are non-white has increased substantially from about 2% in 1974 and will approach 30% by 2005. White men now comprise little more than a quarter of all UK medical students. White and non-white UK graduates make similar choices of specialty.
Conclusions Specialist medical practice in the NHS has been heavily dependent on doctors who have trained abroad, particularly in specialties where posts have been hard to fill. By contrast, UK trained doctors from ethnic minorities are not over-represented in the less popular specialties. Ethnic minorities are well represented in UK medical school intakes; and white men, but not white women, are now substantially under-represented.
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.
A number of studies have identified problems with undergraduate oncology teaching. We have investigated how well prepared newly qualified doctors (first foundation year, or FY1 doctors) are for treating patients with cancer. Twenty-five FY1 doctors and 15 senior doctors participated in interviews. We turned the emergent themes into a questionnaire for all 5143 UK FY1 doctors in 2005. The response rate was 43% (2062 responses). Sixty-one percent of FY1 doctors had received oncology teaching at medical school, but 31% recalled seeing fewer than 10 patients with cancer. Forty percent of FY1 doctors felt prepared for looking after patients with cancer. Sixty-five percent felt prepared for diagnosing cancer, 15% felt they knew enough about chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and 11% felt prepared for dealing with oncological emergencies. Respondents believed medical students should learn about symptom control (71%) and communication skills (41%). Respondents who had received oncology teaching were more likely to feel prepared for looking after patients with cancer (OR 1.52; 95% CI 1.14–2.04). Preparedness also correlated with exposure to patients with cancer (OR 1.48; 95% CI 1.22–1.79). We have found worryingly low levels of exposure of medical students to patients with cancer. First foundation year doctors lack knowledge about cancer care and symptom control. Oncologists should maintain involvement in undergraduate teaching, and encourage greater involvement of patients in this teaching.
undergraduate; medical education; oncology; communication skills; palliative care
The Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) Measure is a widely used patient-rated experience measure which has recently been translated into Chinese and has undergone preliminary qualitative and quantitative validation. The objective of this study was to determine the reliability of the Chinese-version of the CARE Measure in reliably differentiating between doctors in a primary care setting in Hong Kong
Data were collected from 984 primary care patients attending 20 doctors with differing levels of training in family medicine in 5 public clinics in Hong Kong. The acceptability of the Chinese-CARE measure to patients was assessed. The reliability of the measure in discriminating effectively between doctors was analysed by Generalisability-theory (G-Theory)
The items in the Chinese-CARE measure were regarded as important by patients and there were few 'not applicable' responses. The measure showed high internal reliability (coefficient 0.95) and effectively differentiated between doctors with only 15-20 patient ratings per doctor (inter-rater reliability > 0.8). Doctors' mean CARE measure scores varied widely, ranging from 24.1 to 45.9 (maximum possible score 50) with a mean of 34.6. CARE Measure scores were positively correlated with level of training in family medicine (Spearman's rho 0.493, p < 0.05).
These data demonstrate the acceptability, feasibility and reliability of using the Chinese-CARE Measure in primary care in Hong Kong to differentiate between doctors interpersonal competencies. Training in family medicine appears to enhance these key interpersonal skills.
CARE Measure; reliability; consultations; empathy; Hong Kong China; primary care
To examine in Peru the nature of dual practice (doctors holding two jobs at once – usually public sector doctors with private practices), the factors that influence individuals' decisions to undertake dual practice, the conditions faced when doing so and the potential role of regulatory intervention in this area.
The study entailed qualitative interviews with a sample of twenty medical practitioners based in metropolitan Lima, representing a cross-section of those primarily employed in either the private or public sectors and engaged in clinical practice or policy making. The interviews focused on:
1. individuals' experience with dual practice;
2. the general underlying pressures that influence the nature and extent of such activities; and
3. attitudes toward, and the influence of, regulation on such activities.
Dual practice is an activity that is widespread and well-accepted, and the prime personal motivation is financial. However, there are also a number of important broad macroeconomic influences on dual practice particularly the oversupply of medical services, the deregulated nature of this market, and the economic crisis throughout the country, which combine to create major hardships for those attempting to make a living through medical practice. There is some support among doctors for tighter regulation.
Research findings suggest appropriate policy responses to dual practice involve tighter controls on the supply of medical practitioners; alleviation of financial pressures brought by macro-economic conditions; and closer regulation of such activities to ensure some degree of collective action over quality and the maintenance of professional reputations. Further research into this issue in rural areas is needed to ascertain the geographical generalizability of these policy responses.
Five medically qualified women and 36 men who were being treated for alcoholism at a London postgraduate hospital were studied. Most were middle-aged and at an advanced stage of alcoholism. They had usually started drinking heavily in the wake of well-established drug dependence or other psychiatric disorder; as students or housemen; and in the armed forces. Thirty-six doctors were followed up for a mean of 63 months. Five doctors either killed themselves or died of cirrhosis, and nine persisted in almost continuous dependent drinking, while seven completely overcame their alcohol problem and 10 had only occasional relapses. Their prealcoholic careers had ranged from repeated failure to spectacular success, but of 29 doctors alive at follow-up only eight were practising satisfactorily.
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.
Objective To determine whether the ethnicity of UK trained doctors and medical students is related to their academic performance.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources Online databases PubMed, Scopus, and ERIC; Google and Google Scholar; personal knowledge; backwards and forwards citations; specific searches of medical education journals and medical education conference abstracts.
Study selection The included quantitative reports measured the performance of medical students or UK trained doctors from different ethnic groups in undergraduate or postgraduate assessments. Exclusions were non-UK assessments, only non-UK trained candidates, only self reported assessment data, only dropouts or another non-academic variable, obvious sampling bias, or insufficient details of ethnicity or outcomes.
Results 23 reports comparing the academic performance of medical students and doctors from different ethnic groups were included. Meta-analyses of effects from 22 reports (n=23 742) indicated candidates of “non-white” ethnicity underperformed compared with white candidates (Cohen’s d=−0.42, 95% confidence interval −0.50 to −0.34; P<0.001). Effects in the same direction and of similar magnitude were found in meta-analyses of undergraduate assessments only, postgraduate assessments only, machine marked written assessments only, practical clinical assessments only, assessments with pass/fail outcomes only, assessments with continuous outcomes only, and in a meta-analysis of white v Asian candidates only. Heterogeneity was present in all meta-analyses.
Conclusion Ethnic differences in academic performance are widespread across different medical schools, different types of exam, and in undergraduates and postgraduates. They have persisted for many years and cannot be dismissed as atypical or local problems. We need to recognise this as an issue that probably affects all of UK medical and higher education. More detailed information to track the problem as well as further research into its causes is required. Such actions are necessary to ensure a fair and just method of training and of assessing current and future doctors.
In Finland, public health care is the responsibility of primary health care centres, which render a wide range of community level preventive, curative and rehabilitative medical care. Since 1990's, medical studies have involved early familiarization of medical students with general practice from the beginning of the studies, as this pre-clinical familiarisation helps medical students understand patients as human beings, recognise the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and identify practicing general practitioners (GPs) as role models for their professional development. Focused on doctor-patient relationship, we analysed the reports of 2002 first year medical students in the University of Kuopio. The students observed GPs' work during their 2-day visit to primary health care centres.
We analysed systematically the texts of 127 written reports of 2002, which represents 95.5% of the 133 first year pre-clinical medical students reports. The reports of 2003 (N = 118) and 2004 (N = 130) were used as reference material.
Majority of the students reported GPs as positive role models. Some students reported GPs' poor attitudes, which they, however, regarded as a learning opportunity. Students generally observed a great variety of responsibilities in general practice, and expressed admiration for the skills and abilities required. They appreciated the GPs' interest in patients concerns. GPs' communication styles were found to vary considerably. Students reported some factors disturbing the consultation session, such as the GP staring at the computer screen and other team members entering the room. Working with marginalized groups, the chronically and terminally ill, and dying patients was seen as an area for development in the busy Finnish primary health care centres.
During the analysis, we discovered that medical students' perceptions in this study are in line with the previous findings about the importance of role model (good or bad) in making good doctors. Therefore, medical students' pre-clinical primary health care centre visits may influence their attitudes towards primary health care work and the doctor-patient relationship. We welcome more European studies on the role of early pre-clinical general practice exposure on medical students' primary care specialty choice.
Severe organophosphorus or carbamate pesticide poisoning is an important clinical problem in many countries of the world. Unfortunately, little clinical research has been performed and little evidence exists with which to determine best therapy. A cohort study of acute pesticide poisoned patients was established in Sri Lanka during 2002; so far, more than 2000 pesticide poisoned patients have been treated. A protocol for the early management of severely ill, unconscious organophosphorus/carbamate-poisoned patients was developed for use by newly qualified doctors. It concentrates on the early stabilisation of patients and the individualised administration of atropine. We present it here as a guide for junior doctors in rural parts of the developing world who see the majority of such patients and as a working model around which to base research to improve patient outcome. Improved management of pesticide poisoning will result in a reduced number of suicides globally.
atropine; carbamate; management; organophosphate; pesticides
A survey was undertaken to explore attitudes to alternative medicine among 100 general practitioner trainees. A positive attitude emerged from the 86 respondents, with 18 doctors using at least one alternative method themselves and 70 wanting to train in one or more. A total of 31 trainees had referred patients for such treatments; 12 of these doctors made referrals to non-medically qualified practitioners. The most commonly used alternative treatments were hypnosis, manipulation, homoeopathy, and acupuncture. A total of 22 doctors had been treated, or had treated themselves, by an alternative treatment, and this personal experience was linked to a greater professional use. These findings indicate that alternative methods of treatment are currently being used to complement orthodox medicine and an expansion in their use appears imminent.
To implement a Spanish language and culture initiative in a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum that would improve students' Spanish language skills and cultural competence so that graduates could provide competent pharmaceutical care to Spanish-speaking patients.
Five elective courses were created and introduced to the curriculum including 2 medical Spanish courses; a medical Spanish service-learning course; a 2-week Spanish language and cultural immersion trip to Mexico; and an advanced practice pharmacy experience (APPE) at a medical care clinic serving a high percentage of Spanish-speaking patients. Advisors placed increased emphasis on encouraging pharmacy students to complete a major or minor in Spanish.
Enrollment in the Spanish language courses and the cultural immersion trip has been strong. Twenty-three students have completed the APPE at a Spanish-speaking clinic. Eleven percent of 2010 Butler University pharmacy graduates completed a major or minor in Spanish compared to approximately 1% in 2004 when the initiative began.
A Spanish language and culture initiative started in 2004 has resulted in increased Spanish language and cultural competence among pharmacy students and recent graduates.
Hispanic; Latino; Spanish; curriculum; cultural competence
Thirty six young doctors who as medical students had been randomly allocated to either video feedback training or conventional teaching in interviewing skills during a psychiatry clerkship were reassessed five years later. Each doctor interviewed one patient with a psychiatric illness and two with a physical illness. Each interview was rated independently. Both groups had improved since the fourth year clerkship, but those given feedback training had maintained their superiority in the skills associated with accurate diagnosis. This superiority was as evident in their interviews with physically ill patients as it was with psychiatric patients. Both groups, however, still used "closed" questions and were more reluctant to cover psychosocial problems in physically ill patients. Those trained conventionally were clinically inadequate in both these aspects and in clarifying their patients' statements. Given these lasting benefits, all medical students should have feedback training in interviewing skills.
The values such as participation/empathy, communication/sharing, self-awareness, moral integrity, sensitivity/trustfulness, commitment to ongoing professional development, and sense of duty linked to the practice of the medical professionalism were defined by various professional oaths.
The aim of this study was to evaluate how these values are considered by the students of the degree course of medicine.
Materials and Methods:
Four hundred twenty three students (254 females, 169 males) taking part of the first, fourth, and fifth years of the degree course in medicine were asked to answer seven questions. Pearson's Chi-square, Wilcoxon rank sum test, and Kruskal–Wallis test were used for the statistical analysis.
The survey showed a high level of knowledge and self-awareness about the values and skills of medical profession. In particular, the respect, accountability, and the professional skills of competence were considered fundamental in clinical practice. However, the students considered that these values not sufficiently present in their educational experience.
Teaching methods should be harmonized with the contents and with the educational needs to ensure a more complex patient-based approach and the classical lectures of teachers should be more integrated with learning through experience methods.
Empathy; Ethical values; Influencing factors; Medical education; Teaching methods
A common finding in social sciences is that member change hinders group functioning and performance. However, questions remain as to why member change negatively affects group performance and what are some ways to alleviate the negative effects of member change on performance? To answer these questions we conduct an experiment in which we investigate the effect of newcomers on a group’s ability to coordinate efficiently. Participants play a coordination game in a four-person group for the first part of the experiment, and then two members of the group are replaced with new participants, and the newly formed group plays the game for the second part of the experiment. Our results show that the arrival of newcomers decreases trust among group members and this decrease in trust negatively affects group performance. Knowing the performance history of the arriving newcomers mitigates the negative effect of their arrival, but only when newcomers also know the oldtimers performance history. Surprisingly, in groups that performed poorly prior to the newcomers’ arrival, the distrust generated by newcomers is mainly between oldtimers about each other rather than about the newcomers.
Doctor–patient communication has been extensively studied in non-Western contexts and in relation to patients’ cultural and education backgrounds. This study explores the perceived ideal communication style for doctor–patient consultations and the reality of actual practice in a Southeast Asian context. We conducted the study in a teaching hospital in Indonesia, using a qualitative and a quantitative design. In-depth interviews were conducted with ten internal medicine specialists, ten internal medicine residents, 16 patients in two groups based on education level and ten most senior medical students. The contributions of doctors and patients to the communication during consultations were observed and rated quantitatively by thirty internal medicine residents, 393 patients with different educational backgrounds and ten senior medical students. The ‘informed and shared decision making’ is the central observation in this quantitative study. The results of the interviews showed that Southeast Asian stakeholders are in favor of a partnership style of communication and revealed barriers to achieving this: doctors and patients are not prepared for a participatory style and high patient load due to an inefficient health care system does not allow sufficient time for this type of communication. The results of the quantitative study showed a sharp contrast between observed and ideal communication styles. A paternalistic style seems to prevail, irrespective of patients’ educational background. We found a sharp conflict between ideal and reality concerning doctor–patient communication in a Southeast Asian context. Further studies should examine ways to change the prevailing communication style in the desired direction.
Doctor–patient communication; Intercultural communication; Patients’ educational background; The continuum of partnership style
To investigate the risk factors associated with work-related allergy-like symptoms in medical doctors.
Self-administered questionnaire survey and CAP test were conducted among medical school students in the 4th grade of their 6-year medical course in 1993–1996 and 1999–2001. Follow-up questionnaires were sent in 2004 to the graduates. These questionnaires enquired into personal and family history of allergic diseases, lifestyle, history of allergy-like symptoms including work-relatedness and occupational history as medical doctors. Relationships between allergy-like symptoms and relevant factors were evaluated by multivariate logistic regression analysis.
Of 261 respondents at the follow-up survey, 139 (53.3%) and 54 (20.7%) had a history of any allergy-like symptoms and any work-related allergy-like symptoms, respectively. Female gender and family history of allergic diseases were significantly associated with any allergy-like symptoms. Personal history of allergic disease, exposure to domestic animals, eczema caused by rubber gloves, metallic accessories, or cosmetics during schooling days, and membership of the surgical profession were significant risk factors for work-related allergy-like symptoms. On the contrary, to work-related allergy-like symptoms, gender, age, and smoking status were not significantly related, and consumption of prepared foods was inversely related.
Personal history of atopy and eczema induced by common goods and the history of keeping domestic animals may be predictors of work-related allergy-like symptoms in doctors. After graduation from medical school, physicians start with exposure to various allergens and irritants at work, which relate to work-related allergy-like symptoms, especially for surgeons.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00420-011-0682-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Occupational allergy; Doctor; Dermatitis; Rhinitis; Asthma; Environment; Occupational Medicine/Industrial Medicine; Environmental Health; Rehabilitation
The attitudes of 148 medical students, 141 residents, and 644 practising physicians towards computer applications in medicine were studied. The results indicate that physicians recognize the potential of computers to improve patient care, but are concerned about the possibility of increased governmental and hospital control, threats to privacy, and legal and ethical problems. In general, all three groups are uncertain as to the potential effects of computers on their traditional professional role and on the organization of practice. Practising physicians, however, express more concern about these potential effects of computers than do medical students and residents. While attitudes appear to be somewhat independent of prior computer experience, they significantly affect the extent to which physicians use a computer-based hospital information system. This may be a major reason for the slow introduction of clinical computer systems.
Ongoing doctor-patient relationships are integral to the patient-centred ideals of UK general practice, particularly for patients with chronic conditions or complex health problems. ‘Holding’, a doctor-patient relationship defined as establishing and maintaining a trusting, constant, reliable relationship that is concerned with ongoing support without expectation of cure, has previously been suggested as a management strategy for such patients.
To explore urban GPs' and patients' experiences of the management of chronic illness, with a particular focus on holding relationships.
Design and setting
A qualitative study in urban and suburban areas of north west England.
Participating GPs recruited registered patients with chronic illness with whom they felt they had established a holding relationship. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews and subjected to constant comparative qualitative analysis.
GP responders considered holding to be a small but routine part of theirwork. Benefits described included providing support to patients but also containing demands on secondary care. Patient responders, all with complex ongoing needs, described the relationship with their GP as a reassuring, positive, and securing partnership. Both GP and patient responders emphasised the importance of pre-existing knowledge of past life-story, and valued holding as a potential tool for changing health-related behaviour. Difficulties with holding work included fears of dependency, and problems of access.
Holding relationships are a routine part of general practice, valued by both GPs and patients. Naming and valuing holding work may legitimise this activity in the management of people with chronic and complex health problems.
chronic illness; doctor-patient relations; continuity of care; qualitative research
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.
Physicians need to be more sensitive to how their definitions, perceptions, and experiences concerning time can differ from those of patients.
Doctor-patient relationships; doctor-patient communication; medical education; patient satisfaction; medical ethics; medical socialization; health care delivery
To explore the experience of non-UK-qualified doctors in working within the regulatory framework of the General Medical Council (GMC) document Good Medical Practice.
Individual interviews and focus groups.
Non-UK-qualified doctors who had registered with the GMC between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2008, doctors attending training/induction programmes for non-UK-qualified doctors, and key informants involved in training and support for non-UK-qualified doctors.
Main outcome measures
Themes identified from analysis of interview and focus group transcripts.
Information and support for non-UK qualified doctors who apply to register to work in the UK has little reference to the ethical and professional standards required of doctors working in the UK. Recognition of the ethical, legal and cultural context of UK healthcare occurs once doctors are working in practice. Non-UK qualified doctors reported clear differences in the ethical and legal framework for practising medicine between the UK and their country of qualification, particularly in the model of the doctor–patient relationship. The degree of support for non-UK-qualified doctors in dealing with ethical concerns is related to the type of post they work in. European doctors describe similar difficulties with working in an unfamiliar regulatory framework to their non-European colleagues.
Non-UK-qualified doctors experience a number of difficulties related to practising within a different ethical and professional regulatory framework. Provision of information and educational resources before registration, together with in-practice support would help to develop a more effective understanding of GMP and its implications for practice in the UK.