JOURNAL ARTICLE

A qualitative study of the perceptions and experiences of Pre-Registration House Officers on teamwork and support

Heidi Lempp, Mac Cochrane, John Rees
BMC Medical Education 2005 March 9, 5 (1): 10
15757520

BACKGROUND: Following the implementation of a new final Year 5 curriculum in one medical school we carried out a study to explore the experience of the transition from final student year to Pre-Registration House Officer (PRHO). This study looks at the experiences of two successive cohorts of PRHOs in relation to team work, support and shared responsibility in their transition from final year students to qualified doctors. The involvement of PRHOs in teams is likely to change in the development of Foundation programmes.

METHODS: A qualitative study with semi-structured interviews with 33 PRHOs, stratified by gender, ethnicity and maturity, from two study cohorts, qualifying in 2001 and 2002, from one medical school in the UK, in their first three months following medical graduation.

RESULTS: Most PRHOs reported positive experiences for their inclusion as a full member of their first ward teams. This contributed to their increasing confidence and competence in this early period of career transition. However, a number of organisational barriers were identified, e.g. incomplete teams, shift work, which produced problems in their integration for one third of newly qualified doctors.

CONCLUSION: Recently introduced policies, intended to improve the working lives of newly qualified doctors have produced both benefits and unintended adverse impacts on PRHOs. The changes of the new PRHO Foundation programme will have further impact. Foundation doctors may need to relate to wider teams with more interaction and less protection. Such changes will need to be managed carefully to protect the PRHO at a vulnerable time.

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