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The preparedness of UK graduates in acute care: a systematic literature review


Purpose of study The ability to recognise acutely unwell patients and to instigate generic resuscitation is essential for all newly qualified doctors. The aim of this review is to synthesise recent work examining the perceived preparedness of UK medical graduates in acute care, relative to the other outcomes detailed in Tomorrow's Doctors (2009).

Study design A systematic literature search was performed using five databases. It sought literature related to preparedness in acute care and other Tomorrow's Doctors outcomes from the perspectives of the graduates themselves and their professional colleagues. Two researchers undertook data extraction and quality scoring, and preparedness ratings in each outcome were mapped to a generic rating scale to allow comparison between studies.

Results 256 articles were recovered, with 10 included in the final analysis. The 10 articles suggested that graduates perceive themselves to be least well prepared in acute care and prescribing. Their professional colleagues perceive them to be less prepared in acute care than in any of the other outcomes and perceive preparedness in acute care to have declined since the first publication of Tomorrow's Doctors. Furthermore, there is evidence that preparedness in acute care is an area of concern for UK graduates.

Conclusions The assimilation of evidence in this review suggests that recent changes in UK undergraduate training, while improving preparedness in some areas, may have neglected acute care. While not a good surrogate for actual preparedness, perceived preparedness is important in influencing the behaviour of new graduates and therefore warrants further consideration.

  • education
  • medical
  • students
  • medical
  • clinical competence
  • preparedness for practice
  • acute care

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