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Attitudes to out-of-programme experiences, research and academic training of gastroenterology trainees between 2007 and 2016


Objective Academic medical training was overhauled in 2005 after the Walport report and Modernising Medical Careers to create a more attractive and transparent training pathway. In 2007 and 2016, national web-based surveys of gastroenterology trainees were undertaken to determine experiences, perceptions of and perceived barriers to out-of-programme research experience (OOP-R).

Design, setting and patients Prospective, national web-based surveys of UK gastroenterology trainees in 2007 and 2016.

Main outcome measure Attitudes to OOP-R of two cohorts of gastroenterology trainees.

Results Response rates were lower in 2016 (25.8% vs 56.7%) (p<0.0001), although female trainees’ response rates increased (from 28.8% to 37.6%) (p=0.17), along with higher numbers of academic trainees. Over 80% of trainees planned to undertake OOP-R in both surveys, with >50% having already undertaken it. Doctor of Philosophy/medical doctorate remained the most popular OOP-R in both cohorts. Successful fellowship applications increased in 2016, and evidence of gender inequality in 2007 was no longer evident in 2016. In the 2016 cohort, 91.1% (n=144) felt the development of trainee-led research networks was important, with 74.7% (n=118) keen to get involved.

Conclusions The majority of gastroenterology trainees who responded expressed a desire to undertake OOP-R, and participation rates in OOP-R remain high. Despite smaller absolute numbers responding than in 2007, 2016 trainees achieved higher successful fellowship application rates. Reassuringly more trainees in 2016 felt that OOP-R would be important in the future. Efforts are needed to tackle potential barriers to OOP-R and support trainees to pursue research-active careers.

  • academic medicine
  • out of programme
  • training

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