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“You can’t be a person and a doctor”. The work-life balance of doctors in training: a qualitative study

Rich, A; Viney, R; Needleman, S; Griffin, A; Woolf, KVM; (2016) “You can’t be a person and a doctor”. The work-life balance of doctors in training: a qualitative study. BMJ Open , 6 , Article e013897. 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013897. Green open access

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Abstract

Objectives Investigate the work–life balance of doctors in training in the UK from the perspectives of trainers and trainees. Design Qualitative semistructured focus groups and interviews with trainees and trainers. Setting Postgraduate medical training in London, Yorkshire and Humber, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and Wales during the junior doctor contract dispute at the end of 2015. Part of a larger General Medical Council study about the fairness of postgraduate medical training. Participants 96 trainees and 41 trainers. Trainees comprised UK graduates and International Medical Graduates, across all stages of training in 6 specialties (General Practice, Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Psychiatry, Radiology, Surgery) and Foundation. Results Postgraduate training was characterised by work–life imbalance. Long hours at work were typically supplemented with revision and completion of the e-portfolio. Trainees regularly moved workplaces which could disrupt their personal lives and sometimes led to separation from friends and family. This made it challenging to cope with personal pressures, the stresses of which could then impinge on learning and training, while also leaving trainees with a lack of social support outside work to buffer against the considerable stresses of training. Low morale and harm to well-being resulted in some trainees feeling dehumanised. Work–life imbalance was particularly severe for those with children and especially women who faced a lack of less-than-full-time positions and discriminatory attitudes. Female trainees frequently talked about having to choose a specialty they felt was more conducive to a work–life balance such as General Practice. The proposed junior doctor contract was felt to exacerbate existing problems. Conclusions A lack of work–life balance in postgraduate medical training negatively impacted on trainees' learning and well-being. Women with children were particularly affected, suggesting this group would benefit the greatest from changes to improve the work–life balance of trainees.

Type: Article
Title: “You can’t be a person and a doctor”. The work-life balance of doctors in training: a qualitative study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013897
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013897
Language: English
Additional information: Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/ This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1527439
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