The transition to hospital consultant and the influence of preparedness, social support, and perception: A structural equation modelling approach

Med Teach. 2013 Apr;35(4):320-7. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.735381. Epub 2013 Mar 25.


Background: Insight into the transition from specialist registrar to hospital consultant is needed to better align specialty training with starting as a consultant and to facilitate this transition.

Aims: This study investigates whether preparedness regarding medical and generic competencies, perceived intensity, and social support are associated with burnout among new consultants.

Method: A population-based study among all 2643 new consultants in the Netherlands (all specialties) was conducted in June 2010. A questionnaire covering preparedness for practice, intensity of the transition, social support, and burnout was used. Structural equation modelling was used for statistical analysis.

Results: Data from a third of the population were available (32% n = 840) (43% male/57% female). Preparation in generic competencies received lower ratings than in medical competencies. A total of 10% met the criteria for burnout and 18% scored high on the emotional exhaustion subscale. Perceived lack of preparation in generic competencies correlated with burnout (r = 0.15, p < 0.001). No such relation was found for medical competencies. Furthermore, social support protected against burnout.

Conclusions: These findings illustrate the relevance of generic competencies for new hospital consultants. Furthermore, social support facilitates this intense and stressful stage within the medical career.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional
  • Career Mobility*
  • Consultants*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Netherlands
  • Professional Competence*
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload / psychology