Views of doctors in training on the importance and availability of career advice in UK medicine.
Lambert TW., Goldacre MJ.
OBJECTIVES: To determine whether doctors in their first year after qualification wanted career advice, and, if so, whether they thought they had been able to obtain useful advice, and whether older doctors thought that adequate career advice had been available to them. METHODS: We carried out a postal questionnaire survey of all UK medical graduates of 1988, 1993, 1996, 1999 and 2002, and a 25% random sample of the graduates of 2000. RESULTS: The response rate was 67.4% (24 261/35 976 mailed questionnaires). Of doctors in the first postgraduate year, 95% agreed that: 'It is important to be given career advice at this stage of training.' A total of 38% disagreed with the statement: 'I have been able to obtain useful career advice since graduation.' Of more experienced doctors surveyed between 3 and 11 years after graduation, 34% agreed that: 'Making career choices has been made more difficult by inadequate career advice.' CONCLUSIONS: The great majority of junior doctors want career advice after qualification. It cannot be assumed that they are able to seek it out for themselves satisfactorily. Career advice needs to be planned into postgraduate work and training.