Article Text

Download PDFPDF

The preparedness of UK graduates in acute care: a systematic literature review
  1. Victoria R Tallentire,
  2. Samantha E Smith,
  3. Janet Skinner,
  4. Helen S Cameron
  1. Centre for Medical Education, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Victoria R Tallentire, Fellow in Medical Education, Centre for Medical Education, University of Edinburgh, Chancellor's Building, 49 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SB, UK; vicky.tallentire{at}


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

Statistics from


  • Funding This work was supported by a grant from the Clinical Skills Managed Educational Network, which nonetheless had no involvement in the study design, data collection or analysis, writing of the report or the decision to submit for publication.

  • Competing interests VR Tallentire, SE Smith and HS Cameron are authors of one of the studies included in this review. VR Tallentire is a specialty trainee in acute medicine, and J Skinner is a consultant in emergency medicine.

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

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles