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Preparation for practice : an exploration of medical students' preparedness for professional practice

Sihota, Sarbpreet


Sarbpreet Sihota


Andrew K. Brown


How well new medical school graduates are prepared to begin their first post as a doctor has received much focus in medical education. Research has indicated that new graduates can often feel unprepared for professional practice. This has subsequently informed the structure of policy documents on undergraduate course structure from the General Medical Council, with emphasis of structuring placements – student assistantships – where final year students take on some responsibilities of first year post-graduation doctors. A multiple methods study was performed at a medical
school in the United Kingdom. Its aim was to explore preparedness of final year medical students with particular focus looking at experience gained during these student assistantship placements. Quantitative methodology was used with a survey undertaken looking at clinical skills gained by final
year medical students. A qualitative study was performed with focus groups with students and newly graduated doctors; and face to face individual interviews with representatives from groups of senior professional doctors: placement supervisors, representatives of stakeholders of undergraduate and postgraduate education; and representatives with senior positions in NHS Trusts. Involving these multiple participants allowed exploration of preparation both as a quantifiable phenomenon of measurable skills and outcomes and also in gaining insight and understanding into
preparedness by considering the social structure around the student and the new doctor. Bourdieu's concepts of field, habitus and capital - from his theory of practice - were used to contextualise the findings and help present the complex concept of preparedness incorporating both the individual learner factors and the environment around them. This approach identified how preparation was not only influenced by what knowledge and clinical skills students and new doctors had achieved but also how it was influenced by changes to workplace like team structure, reconfiguration of training, and differing expectations of new doctors.


Sihota, S. (2016). Preparation for practice : an exploration of medical students' preparedness for professional practice. (Thesis). Hull York Medical School, the University of Hull and the University of York. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date May 22, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Medicine
Public URL
Additional Information Hull York Medical School, The University of Hull and University of York
Award Date May 1, 2016


Thesis (2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2016 Sihota, Sarbpreet. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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