Hospital Dr News

New doctors don’t feel ready but benefit from support over their first year

Half of new doctors do not feel adequately prepared for their foundation training posts, a survey finds.

As newly qualified doctors start their new jobs this week, a survey of 124 juniors suggests that 48% feel they are unprepared.

Dr Sally Old, medico-legal adviser at the MDU, which conducted the survey, said: “It is natural that newly qualified doctors will feel apprehensive at the start of their foundation training. But our survey results may be a case of last-minute nerves. While just 52% of respondents said they felt adequately prepared for their first days on the wards, an encouraging 83% of doctors said they felt the skills they had learned at medical school had set them up for working as a foundation doctor.

Another survey, this time by the MPS, found that 89% doctors who have just completed their first year benefitted from support. Of those, 91% said they received support from senior doctors, while 64% said they also received support from nurses.

While newly qualified doctors felt supported during their first foundation year, they still faced challenges when dealing with patients. These challenges included not having enough time to give patients the care they require (71%) and managing patients with unrealistic expectations (47%).

Eighty-seven per cent also struggled with long hours while 70% found the heavy workload a challenge.

Dr Gordon McDavid, medicolegal adviser at MPS, said: “The early experiences of doctors can shape their careers, and it is important that as new doctors start their foundation years on hospital wards, they are safe in the knowledge that they are working in a supportive environment.

“Previously, junior doctors may have lacked confidence to call a consultant for help. We are now seeing that, not only are they approaching senior colleagues for help, but that those colleagues are increasingly more visible and available to assist.”

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