AMEE Guide 121: Applying Sport Psychology to Improve Clinical Performance

Helen Church, James Rumbold, John Sandars

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)
    21 Downloads (Pure)


    Preparedness for practice has become an international theme within Medical Education: For healthcare systems to maintain their highest clinical standards, junior doctors must ‘hit the ground running’ on beginning work. Despite demonstrating logical, structured assessment and management plans during their undergraduate examinations, many newly-qualified doctors report difficulty in translating this theoretical knowledge into the real clinical environment. ‘Preparedness’ must constitute more than the knowledge and skills acquired during Medical School. Complexities of the clinical environment overwhelm some junior doctors, who acknowledge they lack strategies to manage their anxieties, under-confidence and low self-efficacy. If uncontrolled, such negative emotions and behaviours may impede the delivery of time-critical treatment for acutely unwell patients and compound junior doctors’ self-doubt, thus impacting future patient encounters. Medical Education often seeks inspiration from other industries for potential solutions to challenges. To address ‘preparedness for practice’ this AMEE guide references sport psychology: Elite sportspeople train both physically and psychologically for their discipline. The latter promotes management of negative emotions, distractions and under-confidence, thus optimising performance despite immense pressures of career-defining moments. Similar techniques might allow junior doctors to optimise patient care, especially within stressful situations. This AMEE guide introduces the novel conceptual model, PERFORM, which targets the challenges faced by junior doctors on graduation. The model applies Pre-Performance Routines from sport psychology with the self-regulatory processes of metacognition to the clinical context. This model could potentially equip junior doctors, and other healthcare professionals facing similar challenges, with strategies to optimise clinical care under the most difficult circumstances.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMedical Teacher
    Early online date8 Aug 2017
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2017


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