135 medical graduates responded indicating how prepared they were in 44 practice areas including recording patient history and reducing the risk of cross-infection among patients. The survey found most graduates felt prepared in 41 of the practice areas, however many did not consider themselves well or very well prepared in certain crucial areas which included providing nutritional care, clinical governance, and responding to errors. These areas were among six in which at least one in ten respondents felt unprepared and have been identified as requiring training improvements.
Although the results were mostly encouraging, it was deduced from the survey that the results suggest a need for further improving education for medical undergrads and aligning training with the needs of health care employment. However current practicing health professionals argue that some areas require clinical experience which can only be learnt through internship. It may also be that some areas where doctors felt unprepared, such as providing nutritional care, are often provided by other specialists – dieticians in the case of nutritional care – and therefore leads to doctors losing skills in those areas. Other leading health professionals continue to call for more equitable distribution of specialist medical training to combat doctor shortages, particularly in rural and remote communities.
The study, which was published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) is the first study of its type. The Tasmanian researchers believe such type of study can help to shape medical training and should be extended nationally.
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