Background: Given the relatively sudden change from learner to teacher-provider that new consultants experience and the likely clinical and managerial challenges this may pose, there is a relative dearth of research into the problems they may have in relation to their new roles, or how supported they feel by senior colleagues acting in a mentoring role. This research sought to determine new consultants views on the quality and relevance of their training, its relationship to their confidence in clinical and managerial skills and their views on mentorship by senior colleagues.
Methods: Detailed postal questionnaire to new consultants using open and closed questions. Open questionnaire to established consultants to validate new consultant responses.
Results: Respondents felt their clinical training was good and were generally confident in most clinical skills although some perceived deficiencies in more complex procedures and specialist areas. Most lacked confidence in many managerial skills. These perceptions were verified by established consultants. Although no relationship was found between total training time or quality of training with confidence, extra training in specific sub-specialities improved confidence in these areas. While most established consultants thought that mentorship would be useful for new consultants, only 52% of them shared this view.
Conclusion: Training and experience in management should be given greater emphasis. There may be a need for specific, targeted training in complex procedures for doctors who experience lack of confidence in these areas. Mentorship should be offered to new consultants and recognised in the job-plan of the new consultant contract.