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Current Projects

  • Burnout and health behaviours in medical undergraduate students

    Jul 2015

    This project will investigate the relationship between stress, burnout and lifestyle choices such as habitual diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking in medical students. We are conducting interviews with first, third and fifth year students at St Andrews, Dundee and Aberdeen medical schools. The application of coping theory to the analysis of the interview transcripts will allow us to understand whether students perceive such lifestyle choices as a way of helping them cope with medical training related stress.

  • Understanding the safety of the medical workplace learning culture in Scotland

    Sep 2015

    We are conducting individual and group interviews with trainees, medical and non-medical trained, and patients in two regions of Scotland in order to explore the types of patient and staff safety and dignity dilemmas experienced and what stakeholders do in the face of these dilemmas and why.  Using narrative interviewing we hope to elicit stories of experience that will shed light onto workplace learning cultures in Scotland.

  • Exploring interprofessional learning with marginalised groups

    Dec 2015

    We are exploring the teaching of communication and socio-relational skills to medical, dental and nursing (MDN) undergraduates at the University of Dundee by encouraging interprofessional learning and providing opportunities to interact, discuss and understand the life context of marginalised populations. Our project looks at an innovative education programme that involves real-life inspired simulations of clinical interactions, using prisoners as simulated patients.

  • Exploring support for junior doctors through transitions in the Foundation Programme

    Jul 2016

    As part of his SMERC-funded PhD, Ali Smithies is conducting a two-stage study to explore support for newly qualified doctors through transitions in the Foundation Programme in Scotland.  Stage 1 involved individual and group interviews with Foundation trainees, trainers and other members of NHS staff to explore their views and experiences of support for transitions.  Stage 2 involved a longitudinal audio-diary study with Foundation Year 1 and 2 trainees to explore their journeys across small transitions between wards, specialties, hospitals and rotations.  Ali will be submitting his thesis in January 2016.
  • What the doctor does next: A mixed-methods study of career decision making in Foundation Programme doctors

    Jan 2017

    We are conducting a mixed-methods PhD study to better understand Foundation Programme (FP) doctor career decision making and how this links with dissatisfaction with training, trainee resilience and wider systemic issues, and what improvements can be made to the training pathway in order to benefit trainees and ultimately patients. The study employs discreet choice experiments (DCEs), a quantitative technique for eliciting preferences, commonly used in health economics for addressing a wide range of policy questions (e.g. Ryan et al. 2008), the use of which we have pioneered in medical education career decision making. We combine this approach with qualitative interviews with doctors in training and their supervisors. The study involves FP doctors and their supervisors working across Scotland and across programmes so we can explore similarities and differences across personal and professional groups and the impact of environmental factors. This PhD progresses previous work on medical career decision making carried out by the same team. 

  • Exploring the transition experiences of higher-stage medical trainees

    Jan 2017

    We are conducting a longitudinal audio-diary study with higher-stage trainees across the trainee-trainer doctor transition in order to explore how they develop their identities as they transition into formal leadership roles.  Including higher-stage trainees from all four regions in Scotland (East, North, South East and West) and from across broad specialty groups will enable us to explore similarities and differences across personal and professional groups and the impact of environmental factors.

  • Understanding, valuing and enhancing the role of clinicians who teach

    Jan 2018

    A recent survey, undertaken as part of the Faculty Development for Scotland project, suggested that at least some experienced clinicians in Scotland do not feel valued and supported in their educational roles. We are taking a qualitative approach to explore clinicians’ perspectives on these issues, and how these roles are, and could be, supported, valued and enhanced by medical schools and those responsible for postgraduate training. This is a multi-centre study which is being conducted across Scotland and also in Sweden, and seeks to inform faculty development and recognition of trainers in both countries and beyond.