Gender, ethnicity and graduate status, and junior doctors' self-reported preparedness for clinical practice: national questionnaire surveys

J R Soc Med. 2014 Feb;107(2):66-74. doi: 10.1177/0141076813502956. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


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.

Setting: UK.

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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Data Collection
  • Education, Medical*
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physicians*
  • Self Report
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Work*