Preparedness for hospital practice among graduates of a problem-based, graduate-entry medical program

Sarah J Dean, Alexandra L Barratt, Graham D Hendry and Patricia M A Lyon
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (4): 163-166.


Objective: To compare preparedness for hospital practice between graduates from a problem-based, graduate-entry medical program and those from other programs (undergraduate problem-based and traditional).

Design: Survey of graduates (by mailed questionnaire) and organisers of clinical training (by semistructured interview); results were compared with published results of surveys of graduates from other programs.

Setting and participants: All graduates of the first intake of the University of Sydney graduate-entry medical program were surveyed at the end of their first intern year (2001), along with the director of clinical training or intern manager at each of the New South Wales hospitals that employed the graduates.

Main outcome measures: Graduates' self-reported level of preparedness in the eight domains of the Preparation for Hospital Practice Questionnaire; and organisers' opinions of their strengths and weaknesses.

Results: 76 of 108 graduates from the graduate-entry program (70%) and organisers of clinical training at all 17 hospitals participated. Graduates from the program felt more prepared than did those from other programs in five of the eight domains assessed (interpersonal skills, confidence, collaboration, holistic care, and self-directed learning) and no less prepared in any domain. Organisers rated the graduates highly, especially in clinical competence, confidence, communication and professional skills. Opinions of interns' knowledge of basic sciences conflicted, with strengths and weaknesses mentioned with equal frequency.

Conclusion: Graduates from the graduate-entry, problem-based program are at least as well prepared for their intern year as graduates from traditional and undergraduate problem-based programs.

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  • Sarah J Dean1
  • Alexandra L Barratt2
  • Graham D Hendry3
  • Patricia M A Lyon4

  • University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.



We are grateful to Dr Isobel Rolfe and Dr Sallie-Anne Pearson (University of Newcastle, NSW) for use of their questionnaire, and also thank Associate Professor Jill Gordon (University of Sydney) and the three anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions. We also thank the interns and organisers of clinical training for their cooperation.

Competing interests:

All authors are members of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, NSW.

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