Background: When training for junior doctors is being planned, little discussion is focused on what outcomes hospitals are trying to achieve with regard to education/training, i.e. on what makes the ideal hospital doctor. Instead, the primary focus is on the requirements of the syllabi of the Royal Colleges (credentialing) and the requirements of service delivery (job description). Current literature has no qualitative studies of any longitude in which middle-grade doctors are asked about their vision of the ideal hospital doctor, what they feel can be done to help realize this vision, and how they feel about their own training.
Methods: This study examined data principally collected through a series of semistructured interviews conducted with eight specialist registrars (SpRs), four each from the North Trent and South Thames rotations over a period of 18 months. Additional information was taken from focus groups, interviews with programme directors, and questionnaires.
Findings: A model was created of the SpRs' perceptions of the key attributes of an ideal hospital doctor and of how these may be achieved in training. Eight broad areas were identified: clinical knowledge and skills; key clinically related generic/non-clinical skills; self-directed learning and medical education; implementing change management; applying strategic and organizational skills in career planning; consultation skills; research; and key personal attributes.
Conclusions: SpRs are articulate in expressing their own expectations of their training and have considerable insight into the components of good training. Further improvement could be made and will require significant commitment from both trainees and trainers.