A qualitative exploration of the lived experience of GP trainees failing to progress in training.
journal contributionposted on 02.12.2020, 10:19 by Rachel Winter, Robert I Norman, Rakesh Patel
Challenges facing general practice are multiple and extreme. Amongst them is the increasing difficulty of recruiting and retaining General Practitioners (GPs). GPs cite heavy workload, work-related stress, little family time and psychological ill-health as factors influencing their decisions to leave or reduce working hours. Analysis of the literature suggests that these factors, amongst others, are present in GP training and trainees have similar experiences. An in-depth understanding of the challenges trainees in difficulty face is lacking. Our research aim was to better understand the factors that trainees perceive contribute to their failure to progress in training. A qualitative approach was adopted using semi-structured interviews with GP trainees identified as failing to progress satisfactorily or failing the MRCGP examinations. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used to understand the unique experiences of GP trainees and find common themes. Twenty-three interview transcripts were analysed. Emergent themes were presented using a framework of three distinct categories to aid data organisation and allocating themes and sub-themes: professional factors, personal factors, and social factors. Difficulties with managing work-load, poor motivation, lack of family time and psychological ill-health were significant themes for many. This study supports the evidence that difficulties facing GPs take root in training. Failure to fully understand trainees' journeys and associated challenges reduces opportunities to provide bespoke packages of care and remediation that fully address their needs.