Objectives: Medical schools need to ensure that graduates feel well prepared for their first medical job. Our objective was to report on differences in junior doctors' self-reported preparedness for work according to gender, ethnicity and graduate status.
Design: Postal and electronic questionnaires.
Participants: Medical graduates of 2008 and 2009, from all UK medical schools, one year after graduation.
Main outcome measures: The main outcome measure was the doctors' level of agreement with the statement that 'My experience at medical school prepared me well for the jobs I have undertaken so far', to which respondents were asked to reply on a scale from 'strongly agree' to 'strongly disagree'.
Results: Women were slightly less likely than men to agree that they felt well prepared for work (50% of women agreed or strongly agreed vs. 54% of men), independently of medical school, ethnicity, graduate entry status and intercalated degree status, although they were no more likely than men to regard lack of preparedness as having been a problem for them. Adjusting for the other subgroup differences, non-white respondents were less likely to report feeling well prepared than white (44% vs. 54%), and were more likely to indicate that lack of preparedness was a problem (30% non-white vs. 24% white). There were also some gender and ethnic differences in preparedness for specific areas of work.
Conclusions: The identified gender and ethnic differences need to be further explored to determine whether they are due to differences in self-confidence or in actual preparedness.
Keywords: ethnicity; gender; junior doctors; medical education; preparedness for work.