Foundation Year 2 doctors’ reasons for leaving UK medicine: an in-depth analysis of decision-making using semistructured interviews

Samantha E. Smith, Victoria R. Tallentire, Lindsey M. Pope, Anita H. Laidlaw, Jill Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Objectives:  To explore the reasons that doctors choose to leave UK medicine after their foundation year two posts.

Setting: All four regions of Scotland.

Participants:  Foundation year two doctors (F2s) working throughout Scotland who were considering leaving UK medicine after foundation training were recruited on a volunteer basis. Maximum variation between participants was sought.

Primary and secondary outcome measures:  Semistructured interviews were coded using template analysis. Six perspectives, described by Feldman and Ng, were used as the initial coding template. The codes were then configured to form a framework that explores the interplay of factors influencing Foundation Year 2 (F2) doctors’ decisions to leave UK medicine.

Results:  Seventeen participants were interviewed. Six perspectives were explored. Structural influences (countrywide and worldwide issues) included visas, economic and political considerations, structure of healthcare systems and availability of junior doctor jobs worldwide. Organisational influences (the National Health Service (NHS) and other healthcare providers) included staffing and compensation policies, the working environment and the learning environment. Occupational influences (specific to being a junior doctor) comprised the junior doctor contract, role and workload, pursuit of career interests and the structure of training. Work group influences (relationships with colleagues) included support at work, task interdependence and use of locums. Personal life influences consisted of work-life balance, and support in resolving work-life conflict. The underlying theme of ‘taking a break’ recurred through multiple narratives.

Conclusions:  F2s give reasons similar to those given by any professional considering a change in their job. However, working within the NHS as an F2 doctor brought specific challenges, such as a need to make a choice of specialty within the F2 year, exposure to workplace bullying and difficulties in raising concerns. Despite these challenges, most F2s did not view their decision to leave as a permanent job change, but as a temporary break from their current working lives.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere019456
Number of pages17
JournalBMJ Open
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2018

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