Key points

  • The three most common approaches to engaging junior doctors in quality improvement include:
    • formal training
    • quality improvement projects and initiatives led by junior doctors
    • projects designed by others to improve the quality of care provided by junior doctors.
  • Factors that may help or hinder the degree to which junior doctors are involved in quality improvement include:
    • transitions to new roles
    • organisational culture
    • support and supervision
    • working conditions and hours
    • ongoing learning opportunities.

This evidence scan describes how junior doctors have been engaged in quality improvement and factors that help and hinder their involvement.

In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the term ‘junior doctors’ refers to newly qualified doctors who have taken up posts after leaving medical school. These doctors provide care for patients in hospital or general practice under the broad supervision of more senior doctors. This role is somewhat equivalent to the first three years of a ‘resident’ post in North America. The years immediately after leaving medical school may be a prime time for supporting practitioners to develop an interest and expertise in improving the quality of healthcare.

This evidence scan summarises some published literature about the involvement of junior doctors in quality improvement in the UK and internationally. Ten databases were searched for material available as at July 2011 and 78 articles have been included.

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