Introduction: Danish and Dutch new consultants' perceptions regarding the transition to consultant were compared to gain insight into this period, particularly the influence of contextual factors concerning the organisation of specialty training and health care therein. Preparation for medical and generic competencies, perceived intensity and burnout were compared. Additionally, effects of differences in working conditions and cultural dimensions were explored.
Methods: All consultants registered in the Netherlands in 2007-2009 (n = 2643) and Denmark in 2007-2010 (n = 1336) received in June 2010 and April 2011, respectively, a survey about their preparation for medical and generic competencies, perceived intensity and burnout. Power analysis resulted in required sample sizes of 542. Descriptive statistics and independent t-tests were used for analysis.
Results: Data were available of 792 new consultants in the Netherlands and 677 Danish new consultants. Compared to their Dutch counterparts, Danish consultants perceived specialty training and the transition less intensely, reported higher levels of preparation for generic competencies and scored lower on burnout.
Conclusions: The importance of contextual aspects in the transition is underscored and shows that Denmark appears to succeed better in aligning training with practice. Regulations regarding working hours and progressive independence of trainees appear to facilitate the transition.