Recognizing junior doctors' potential contribution to patient safety and health care quality improvement

J Health Organ Manag. 2013;27(2):273-86. doi: 10.1108/14777261311321824.


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to re-frame perceptions surrounding junior doctors' capacity to contribute to patient safety and quality improvement.

Design/methodology/approach: A targeted literature review was conducted followed by individual telephone interviews and a half-day forum involving junior doctor representatives and selected leaders in the sector.

Findings: Junior doctors' entry into health care is an ideal time to cultivate practitioners' interest and expertise in improving the health system for better patient care. Junior doctors are more likely to bring or embrace new ideas, and recognize the importance of transparency and integration of technology into healthcare systems. Engaging with junior doctors in collaborative processes, rather than focusing on their more senior colleagues, may create a more effective culture.

Originality/value: The attributes of junior doctors (as they are in the absence of specific quality improvement or leadership training) that are currently underutilized in patient safety and quality improvement are explored, along with the factors limiting and facilitating the utilization of these attributes.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / standards*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods*