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What are the non-technical skills required by junior doctors in the NHS to manage medical emergencies? A scoping review
  1. Ying Xin Tan1,
  2. Arif Hanafi Bin Jalal1,
  3. Victoria Ngai1,
  4. Nivetha Manobharath1,
  5. Terrence Chi Fang Soh2
  1. 1 UCL Medical School, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2 Emergency medicine, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Ying Xin Tan, UCL Medical School, University College London, London, UK; ying.tan.17{at}


Many junior doctors have reported a lack of confidence in managing emergency conditions. However, there is insufficient literature summarising the current knowledge about the non-technical skills needed by junior doctors to tackle medical emergencies. This paper aims to identify the non-technical skills necessary for the management of medical emergencies by junior doctors. Three databases were systematically searched to identify relevant articles published between January 2000 and March 2020. In total, 8707 unique articles were identified and independently screened by at least two authors, using predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria. A coding framework was applied to extract relevant data and for thematic analysis of the included studies. These methods have been performed following the PRISMA-ScR Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines. There were a total of 13 articles included in the thematic analysis. The result of this review was the identification of several key non-technical skills: teamwork, communication, asking for help, challenging seniority, task prioritisation, decision-making, leadership and handling stress. In conclusion, lack of non-technical skills in junior doctors has a negative impact on patient care in a medical emergency. The training of junior doctors can be re-evaluated and designed to reflect the importance of these non-technical skills.

  • accident & emergency medicine
  • health & safety
  • medical education & training

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  • YXT and AHBJ are joint first authors.

  • Contributors YXT and AHBJ contribute equally and should be listed as joint first author. YXT, AHBJ, VN and TCFS designed the study. All authors contributed to the acquisition, analysis, interpretation of data, as well as drafting the manuscript. AHBJ and TCFS designed data collection tools. YXT, AHBJ and TCFS revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content.

  • Funding This study was conducted through the mentorship programme organised by STRC and supported by the Student Initiative Grant offered by the AMEE.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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