Novice Doctors in the Emergency Department: A Scoping Review

Cureus. 2022 Jun 23;14(6):e26245. doi: 10.7759/cureus.26245. eCollection 2022 Jun.


In many emergency departments (EDs), young, inexperienced doctors treat patients who are critically ill. At the start of their career, these novice doctors are not sufficiently qualified to take care of these potentially critically ill patients in the highly demanding environment of an ED. This not only poses a threat to the well-being of the doctor, who feels inadequately prepared and experiences a lot of stress, but also to that of the patients, who may not receive optimal care. Lastly, young doctors may influence the efficiency of the organization, with longer throughput times, more orders of ancillary investigations, and more admissions. Training novice doctors with regard to simple or complex skills using simulation techniques is part of the solution. However, the transfer of newly learned skills to clinical practice remains unexplored, and not everything can be trained before the actual skill is required. Therefore, it is important to train young doctors in their learning abilities, for instance, teach them how to be adaptive and how to use their skills in new situations. Lastly, the way care is organized is essential. Good supervision, leaving room for the learning processes of young doctors, developing a team with more experienced professionals (paramedics, nurses, and doctors), and well-organized processes, aiming to reduce the complexity of the work, are ways to improve the quality of care, independent of the experience level of the novice doctor.

Keywords: emergency department; novice doctors; organization; preparation for future learning; preparedness training.

Publication types

  • Review