Does undergraduate curriculum design make a difference to readiness to practice as a junior doctor?
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Background: Undergraduate medicine curricula can be designed to enable smoother transition to work as a junior doctor. Evaluations should improve curriculum design. Aim: To compare a graduate cohort from one medical school with a cohort from other medical schools in the same Foundation Year 1 (FY1) programme in terms of retrospective perceptions of readiness for practice. Method: A Likert-scale questionnaire measured self-perception of readiness to practice, including general capabilities and specific clinical skills. Results: Response rate was 74% (n=146). The Peninsula Medical School cohort reported readiness for practice at a significantly higher level than the comparison cohort in 14 out of 58 items (24%), particularly for ‘coping with uncertainty’. In only one item (2%) does the comparison cohort report at a significantly higher level. Conclusions: Significant differences between cohorts may be explained by undergraduate curriculum design, where the opportunity for early, structured work-based, experiential learning as students, with patient contact at the core of the experience, may promote smoother transition to work as a junior doctor. Evaluation informs continuous quality improvement of the curriculum.
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