The first five years: a mixed methods study investigating reflections on working as a hospital consultant

Jeremy Brown, N J Shaw, D R Graham

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


    Objectives: This paper revisits the same cohort of hospital consultants approximately five years after they were first appointed to investigate their reflections on establishing themselves in their role. Design: Mixed methods using a short survey and in-depth semistructured interviews. Setting: The study was conducted within one Deanery in the North of England. Participants: The same 45 hospital consultants who were invited to participate in the study in 2007 were asked to take part in the second stage of the project in February 2011. These 45 consultants started their appointments no earlier than May 2006 within 12 National Health Service (NHS) Trusts in one Deanery. A total of 16 consultants participated. Six consultants who took part in semistructured interviews in 2007–2008 were invited to be interviewed again. Four consented and participated in a further interview in 2011. Main outcome measures: Do consultants feel they have completed their transition into their senior clinical posts? Yes, although the ever changing nature of the consultant role means new challenges are always having to be being addressed. What support mechanisms are valued by consultants? Informal support mechanisms are greatly valued by consultants and these are built up over time. Are consultants satisfied that they made the correct specialty choice? Yes, all respondents reported satisfaction in their specialty choice. Results: After reflecting on five years in post, all agreed that Specialist training prepared them well for the clinical aspects of their role. Ten (62%) felt they were not prepared for dealing with Trust Management issues and 13 (81%) felt unprepared for financial management. Conclusions: Consultants learn on the job and eventually fulfil their potential in the role over time. However, the role is regularly changing so informal support mechanisms are valued to help deal with a highly complex role.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Medicine Short Reports
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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