How is transition to medical practice shaped by a novel transitional role? A mixed-methods study

Bryan Burford*, Karen Mattick, Daniele Carrieri, Anna Goulding, Thomas Gale, Nicola Brennan, Gillian Vance

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives This study considered a novel ‘interim’ transitional role for new doctors (termed ‘FiY1’, interim Foundation Year 1), bridging medical school and Foundation Programme (FP). Research questions considered effects on doctors’ well-being and perceived preparedness, and influences on their experience of transition. While FiY1 was introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, findings have wider and ongoing relevance.

Design A sequential mixed-methods study involved two questionnaire phases, followed by semi-structured interviews. In phase 1, questionnaires were distributed to doctors in FiY1 posts, and in phase 2, to all new FP doctors, including those who had not undertaken FiY1.

Setting and participants Participants were newly qualified doctors from UK medical schools, working in UK hospitals in 2020. 77% (n=668) of all participants across all phases had undertaken FiY1 before starting FP in August. The remainder started FP in August with varying experience beforehand.

Outcome measures Questionnaires measured preparedness for practice, stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, identity, and tolerance of ambiguity. Interviews explored participants’ experiences in more depth.

Results Analysis of questionnaires (phase 1 n=441 FiY1s, phase 2 n=477 FiY1s, 196 non-FiY1s) indicated that FiY1s felt more prepared than non-FiY1 colleagues for starting FP in August (β=2.71, 95% CI=2.21 to 3.22, p
Conclusions An explicitly transitional role can benefit doctors as they move from medical school to independent practice. We suggest that the features of supported autonomy are those of institutionalised liminality—a structured role ‘betwixt and between’ education and practice—and this lens may provide a guide to optimising the design of such posts.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere074387
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Early online date24 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2023

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