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Title: Caring for patients with cancer : what helps junior doctors feel prepared?
Author: Cave, Judith
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 4065
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Introduction: Undergraduate medical education aims to prepare students for their first year of work as doctors, but previous research has indicated that the preparedness of newly qualified doctors can be poor. My aims in this thesis were to study junior doctors' preparedness for caring for patients with cancer, and to investigate how such preparedness related to the oncology teaching they received as undergraduates.;Methods: 25 newly qualified doctors and 15 senior doctors participated in semi-structured interviews. The emergent themes formed the basis of a questionnaire for 5143 newly qualified doctors in the UK in May 2005. A group of stakeholders participated in a Delphi consultation concerning the questionnaire results.;Results: 61% of newly qualified doctors had received oncology teaching, but 31% recalled seeing fewer than 10 patients with cancer at medical school. Newly qualified doctors' preparedness for starting work has improved significantly, from 36% feeling prepared in 2001, to 59% in 2005 (pO.OOl). 40% of respondents felt prepared for looking after patients with cancer. Preparedness was higher for recognising and diagnosing cancer (65%) and for breaking bad news (65%) than for dealing with oncological emergencies (11%) chemo/radiotherapy knowledge (15%), and prescribing syringe drivers (21%). Newly qualified doctors stated that symptom control (71%) and communication skills (41%) were the most important things for medical students to learn about cancer. The strongest predictors of preparedness were relevance of undergraduate teaching to the first year of work (B=0.26), and exposure to patients with cancer at medical school (B=0.12). Stakeholders identified the need for a core undergraduate cancer curriculum, and greater community involvement in oncology teaching.;Conclusions: Oncology teaching and meeting patients with cancer help to prepare doctors for looking after patients with cancer, but there are worryingly low levels of exposure of medical students to patients with cancer. Oncologists should increase involvement in undergraduate teaching. Teaching should emphasise areas that are relevant to real life as a junior doctor, for example by placing emphasis on symptom control. There should be greater involvement of patients in teaching.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available