Faculty of Health

New research surveys work readiness of graduating doctors

New research into determining the work readiness of graduating doctors and whether they feel prepared for practice has been published today by the Medical Journal of Australia.

Faculty of Health researchers Jenny Barr, Dr Kathryn Ogden, Dr Kim Rooney and Iain Robertson’s paper, Preparedness for practice: the perceptions of graduates of a regional clinical school, involved a retrospective survey of self-reported preparedness of students who had graduated from the Launceston Clinical School between 2005-2014.

The survey asked graduates to assess their capabilities in 44 clinical practice areas including patient-centred capabilities, with 135 graduates responding to the questionnaire.

“Graduates from the Launceston Clinical School generally felt well prepared for the transition to clinical practice as a junior doctor,” they stated.

“Universities, medical authorities and employers are interested in whether medical graduates are adequately prepared for practice.

“A large majority of respondents reported feeling prepared for each of the 44 capabilities covered by the survey.

“In 17 areas of practice, at least 80% of respondents felt well or extremely well prepared.”

The authors noted while the overall perceived level of preparedness was high for these graduates, on 61% of the surveyed items fewer than 80% of respondents rated themselves as well or extremely well prepared.

The researchers found in six items at least 10% of respondents reported not being well prepared or even unprepared for practice in areas including providing nutritional care, responding to error and patient safety and cultural competency.

“There are clear implications for further improving undergraduate medical education, ensuring that graduates feel well or extremely well prepared, rather than merely prepared by the time they commence practice,” they stated.

“The survey identified strengths and weaknesses in the preparation of doctors for practice.

“This survey could be administered more broadly and a national, longitudinal perspective of perceived preparedness obtained.”

The MJA have linked an editorial to this publication, discussing the broader challenges for medical training to meet community needs in Australia.