Medical school predictors of later perceived mastery of clinical work among Norwegian doctors: a cohort study with 10-year and 20-year follow-up.

Research paper by Anna A Belfrage, Kjersti Støen KS Grotmol, Lars L Lien, Torbjørn T Moum, Ragna Veslemøy RV Wiese, Reidar R Tyssen

Indexed on: 28 Sep '17Published on: 28 Sep '17Published in: BMJ open


Doctors' self-perceived mastery of clinical work might have an impact on their career and patient care, in addition to their own health and well-being. The aim of this study is to identify predictors at medical school of perceived mastery later in doctors' careers.A cohort of medical students (n=631) was surveyed in the final year of medical school in 1993/1994 (T1), and 10 (T2) and 20 (T3) years later.Nationwide healthcare institutions.Medical students from all universities in Norway.Perceived mastery of clinical work was measured at T2 and T3. The studied predictors measured at T1 included personality traits, medical school stress, perceived medical recording skills, identification with the role of doctor, hazardous drinking and drinking to cope, in addition to age and gender. Effects were studied using multiple linear regression models.Response rates: T1, 522/631 (83%); T2, 390/522 (75%); and T3, 303/522 (58%). Mean scores at T2 and T3 were 22.3 (SD=4.2) and 24.5 (3.0) (t=8.2, p<0.001), with no gender difference. Adjusted associations at T2 were: role identification (β=0.16; p=0.006; 95% CI 0.05 to 0.28), perceived medical recording skills (β=0.13; p=0.02; 95% CI 0.02 to 0.24) and drinking to cope (β=-2.45; p=0.001; 95% CI -3.88 to -1.03). Adjusted association at T3 was perceived medical recording skills (β=0.11; p=0.015; 95% CI 0.02 to 0.21).Perceived medical recording skills and role identification were associated with higher perceived mastery. Medical schools should provide experiences, teaching and assessment to enhance students' physician role identification and confidence in their own skills. Drinking to cope was associated with lower perceived mastery, which indicates the importance of acquiring healthier coping strategies in medical school.