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Foundation doctors and dyslexia: a qualitative study of their experiences and coping strategies


Background Dyslexia is the most common form of specific learning difficulty affecting approximately 6% of the general UK population and believed to affect approximately 2% of UK medical students. The impact of dyslexia on early practice has not been studied.

Objectives To develop an understanding of the challenges faced by doctors with dyslexia in the first year of practice and their support requirements.

Methods Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with seven foundation year 1 doctors with dyslexia from Scottish hospitals between March 2013 and August 2013.

Results Foundation doctors indicated that due to their dyslexia, they experience difficulty with all forms of communication, time management and anxiety. There were concerns about disclosure of their dyslexia to colleagues and supervisors. Coping strategies used frequently were safety-netting and planning; technology solutions did offer some assistance.

Conclusions Although technological interventions have the potential to offer benefits to foundation doctors with dyslexia, increased openness about a diagnosis of dyslexia with discussion between doctor and supervisors about the challenges and anxieties is likely to provide the most benefit.

  • EDUCATION & TRAINING (see Medical Education & Training)

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