Transitions in medicine: Trainee doctor stress and support mechanisms

Alison Bullock*, Fiona Fox, Rebecca Barnes, Natasha Doran, Wendy Hardyman, Duncan Moss, Mark Stacey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe experiences of transition from medical school to new doctor in the UK and to examine the development and evaluation of initiatives designed to lessen anxiety and assist transition. Design/methodology/approach: The evaluations of two recent interventions for new doctors are reported, one at organisational and one at the individual level: first, a longer induction programme; and second, provision of a library of medical textbooks on smartphones (the "iDoc" project). The paper also reports on mindfulness training designed to help trainees' well-being. Findings: These initiatives address different aspects of transition challenges (related to roles and responsibilities, cognitive and environmental factors). Benefit can be gained from multiple approaches to supporting this time of uncertainty. Practical implications: Given the link between transition, doctor stress and patient safety, there is a need to review existing strategies to ameliorate the stress associated with transition and seek novel ways to support new doctors. The authors argue that diverse approaches, targeted at both the organisational and individual level, can support new trainees, both practically and emotionally. Originality/value: The paper reports initiatives that support transition, of value to medical schools, deaneries, researchers and trainees themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-382
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Workplace Learning
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2013


  • Doctors
  • Healthcare
  • Induction
  • Mindfulness
  • Mobile technology
  • Stress
  • Trainee doctors
  • Training
  • Transition management
  • Uncertainty management
  • United Kingdom
  • Workplace learning


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