Chen, S, Smith, H, Bartlam, B, Low-Beer, N, Chow, A, Rosby, LV, Shelat, VG and Cleland, J (2022) Role of social comparison in preparedness for practice as a junior doctor in Singapore: a longitudinal qualitative study. BMJ Open, 12 (9). e061569 - e061569. ISSN 2044-6055

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<jats:sec><jats:title>Objectives</jats:title><jats:p>To date, most research on medical graduates’ preparedness for practice has conceptualised preparedness as something possessed by the individual. However, new doctors work within social settings with other people and, given this, we argue that preparedness has a social and comparative dimension. The aim of this paper is to explore medical students’/graduates’ self-assessments of their preparedness for practice using the lens of social comparison theory.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Setting</jats:title><jats:p>We invited medical students from one of Singapore’s three medical schools who were in their final-year Student Assistantship Programme to participate in semi-structured interviews, and follow-up interviews 6 months later when they were working as junior doctors. Data was collected from two cohorts, in 2018 and 2019. Initial analysis of interview transcripts was inductive and thematic. Social comparison theory was used for subsequent theory-driven analysis.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Participants</jats:title><jats:p>31 participants took part, of whom 21 also engaged in follow-up interviews.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>We identified three uses of social comparison: as coping strategy to manage uncertainties in transitions where there was no formal, objective testing of their performance; as a means to confirm their self-perceived preparedness (upwards or downwards, eg, being better or worse prepared than comparator others); and as the basis for decision-making (eg, changing career choices).</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title><jats:p>Senior medical students and newly-graduated doctors compare themselves with peers and near-peers in terms of prior learning and current performance to evaluate and understand their own performance at work. Future studies need to examine further how the feeling of preparedness or unpreparedness generated from social comparisons may affect subsequent clinical performance and professional development.</jats:p></jats:sec>

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2022 09:19
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:19

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