In a recent study from Germany, only 43% of surgical residents declared to feel sufficiently prepared for their clinical work from undergraduate training. This can bear a high risk for patients’ wellbeing as unpreparedness can increase medical errors. The study identifies areas for improvement.
By Miriam Ruessler
Straight after medical school, many young medical residents report to feel unprepared to become doctors. Certainly, feeling unprepared when starting any new profession is natural to some extent. However, in 2010, researchers Phillips and Barker identified a 10% increase in fatal medication errors in July, i.e. exactly within the month that new graduates begin their medical residencies in the US. Thus, it is of great importance to identify and analyze the areas of unpreparedness in young graduates in order to improve undergraduate training accordingly.
Hospital bureaucracy overwhelms undergraduates
Recently published in the journal Innovative Surgical Sciences, an interview-based study with surgical residents in their first and second years of medical school, revealed that only 43% of the residents felt sufficiently prepared for their clinical work from undergraduate training. 71% were overwhelmed with the mass of bureaucracy in daily clinical routine.
Decision-making and therapy treatments are major hurdles
The major hurdles participants faced during their daily clinical work, were knowledge gaps regarding organizational and administrative pathways, deficits in linking knowledge to clinical reasoning, decision making and therapy planning. On the contrary, most residents felt well prepared regarding basic practical skills and communicative competencies such as taking a patient’s history, performing a physical examination, and obtaining informed consent.
More patient encounters needed from the start
Residents identified practical placements during the semester, clinical clerkships, and the last year internship as the most effective preparation for daily clinical work. To be better prepared for clinical practice, nearly all participants proposed increasing the patient encounters directly from the beginning of medical training as a longitudinal approach and a clearer structure in the curriculum with course subjects bearing better relations to each other.
More preparation of doctors enhances a patient’s wellbeing
Being adequately prepared for daily clinical practice is of great importance for patients’ wellbeing and minimizing medical errors. This study affirms the actual development of competency-based education in undergraduate training.
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