How well prepared are graduates for the role of pre-registration house officer? A comparison of the perceptions of new graduates and educational supervisors

Med Educ. 2001 Jun;35(6):578-84. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2001.00955.x.


Objective: The principal aim of undergraduate medical education is to produce competent pre-registration house officers (PRHOs). We examined and compared the perceptions of graduates and educational supervisors concerning how well prepared graduates were for their first post.

Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to house officers who had graduated from Manchester 3 months earlier and also to educational supervisors of PRHOs in the North-west Region. The questionnaires were based on the competencies set out by the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom.

Results: The response rates were 66% from the graduates and 76% from the supervisors. Of the 18 broad areas of competence listed, only four were rated more than 'quite well prepared' by at least 50% of the graduates ('understanding disease processes', 'communicating effectively', 'awareness of limitations' and 'working in a team'). Similarly, more than half of educational supervisors rated graduates as more than quite competent in only three areas ('awareness of limitations', 'keeping accurate records' and 'working in a team'). Within the competencies surveyed, there were differences between the perceptions of graduates and educational supervisors on the preparedness of graduates for the skills they may require as a pre-registration house officer.

Conclusion: Overall, given that most graduates and supervisors perceived the preparedness as 'quite well' or less, the undergraduate course had only partially met its objectives. A mismatch in ratings could be attributed to either inappropriate expectations on the part of the educational supervisors or the graduates or an inaccurate assessment by either group of respondents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / standards*
  • Educational Measurement
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / standards*
  • Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / standards