Postgrad Med J doi:10.1136/pgmj.2010.115659
  • Original article

Are medical graduates ready to face the challenges of Foundation training?

  1. Helen S Cameron
  1. Centre for Medical Education, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Victoria R Tallentire, University of Edinburgh, Chancellor's Building, 49 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SB, UK; vicky.tallentire{at}
  • Received 10 December 2010
  • Accepted 1 May 2011
  • Published Online First 20 June 2011


Purpose of study Previous research demonstrates that graduating medical students often feel unprepared for practice and that their perceptions of preparedness correlate only partially with those of their supervising consultants. This study explores the components of preparedness for practice from the perspectives of both newly qualified doctors and their educational supervisors.

Study design A questionnaire study was undertaken at the University of Edinburgh, involving feedback on preparedness for practice over three consecutive years from 2007 to 2009, against 13 major programme outcomes, from graduates and their educational supervisors. In addition, free text responses were sought and thematically analysed.

Results Graduates consistently felt well prepared in consultation and communication skills but less prepared in acute care and prescribing. Educational supervisors consistently felt that graduates were well prepared in information technology and communication skills but less prepared in acute care and practical procedures. Free text analysis identified four main themes: knowledge; skills; personal attributes; and familiarity with the ward environment.

Conclusions Preparedness for practice data can be enriched by repeated collection over several years, comparison of different perspectives, and incorporation of free text responses. The non-technical skills of decision-making, initiative, prioritisation, and coping with stress are important components of preparing new doctors for practice. Education for Foundation trainees should focus on the areas in which graduates are perceived to be less prepared, such as acute care, prescribing, and procedural skills.


  • Funding Clinical Skills Managed Educational Network c/o Clinical Skills Centre Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, UK.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was waived by the South East Scotland Research Ethics Service.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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