Foundation doctors, transitions and emotions
What were the key findings?
The research identified the emotional pressures foundation doctors in this study operated under and the strategies they used to manage and regulate their emotions.
Most of the negative emotions experienced were anxiety related, rather than sadness or anger.
Two common patterns were identified – suppression of emotions during an event and expression afterwards, and expression during and regret afterwards.
The research suggests that outwardly expressing emotions in the workplace was viewed negatively by foundation year doctors and inward suppression as desirable.
Some of the strategies doctors used to manage their emotions have the potential to negatively impact on their own health and patient care.
The report suggested that foundation doctors may have limited understanding of how to manage their emotions in the workplace healthily.
The research found that the workplace environment and team in which foundation doctors work were factors which affected whether doctors were able to manage their emotions in a healthy way
Why did we commission this research?
Research published in 2014 How prepared are UK medical graduates for practice? discussed how foundation year 1 doctors felt unprepared for their own emotional response to the challenges of the role but found that this aspect was poorly understood. We commissioned this follow-on study to find out how foundation doctors manage their emotions in challenging clinical situations.
What did the research involve?
As the research questions were exploratory, the study adopted a qualitative approach using audio diaries and interviews with 26 foundation year 2 doctors across four UK sites. As this was a qualitative study the sampling strategy was not designed to be representative of the wider population.
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