Objectives: Competency in practical skills is an important aspect of training for medical doctors. This questionnaire survey aimed to investigate if the current Foundation Year trainees have performed several practical procedures of importance and their level of confidence in carrying them out unsupervised.
Design: Questionnaire study.
Setting: Five National Health Service hospitals in England.
Participants: A total of 103 Foundation Year trainees responded to the survey (73 FY1s; 30 FY2s).
Main outcome measures: Percentage of trainees who have performed these skills and their average level of confidence.
Results: The percentage of trainees who have performed these skills and their average level of confidence (scale of 1 to 5) are as follows: intubation (32%, 1); chest drain (33%, 1); central line (26%, 1); femoral line (23%, 1); peripheral line (28%, 1); lumbar puncture (64%, 3); ascitic tap (57%, 3). Only 25% of the trainees have attended certified training courses on these skills during their Foundation Year training. More than half of these trainees (73%) found the courses very useful. Ninety-two per cent of trainees who did not attend practical skill courses are very interested to attend them. All the trainees agreed that these courses should be available for all the Foundation Year doctors, and 92% believe that these courses are most beneficial during the Foundation Year 1 training.
Conclusion: Most Foundation Year trainees have low confidence and exposure to these important practical skills. Certified practical skills courses should be made available to the Foundation Year doctors for the benefit of their training. This will also increase the quality of patient care.
Keywords: Foundation Year doctor; clinical skills; invasive procedures; structured skills course; teaching.