Introduction: UK medical school graduates report feeling unprepared to perform pre-operative assessment. This study aimed to explore foundation doctors’ experiences and opinions of the current pre-operative assessment service in the United Kingdom, their preparedness to perform the task and the training they receive. Methods: A qualitative study, which utilized focus groups. Participants were foundation doctors in the South West England Region. Inductive thematic analysis was performed. Results: Sixteen participants were recruited to four focus groups. Following changes to staff and resource utilization, foundation doctors’ exposure to routine cases and training in pre-operative assessment was reported as inadequate, resulting in concerns for patient safety. Participants reported that training as a medical student may best prepare them for their responsibilities as a newly qualified doctor. Discussion: Although a nurse-led elective pre-operative service may improve staff and resource utilization within the NHS, this should not be at the expense of reducing doctors’ skill in this vital area. Inadequate training leads to over-reliance on guidelines, which can reduce iterative thinking, increase physician anxiety and service inefficiencies. Conclusions: Safety and efficiency of pre-operative assessment services may be improved by the training of medical students in this area, but the teaching methodology that best facilitates this competency warrants investigation.
- Education, medical, undergraduate
- Preoperative assessment