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What factors influence UK medical students’ choice of foundation school?

Authors Miah S, Pang KH, Rebello W, Rubakumar Z, Fung V, Venugopal S, Begum H

Received 7 February 2017

Accepted for publication 8 March 2017

Published 20 April 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 293—297

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S134081

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Robert Robinson

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder


Saiful Miah,1,2 Karl H Pang,3 Wayne Rebello,4 Zoe Rubakumar,4 Victoria Fung,5 Suresh Venugopal,6 Hena Begum4

1Division of Surgery and Interventional science, University College London, London, UK; 2Department of Urology, Charing Cross Hospital Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK; 3Academic Urology Unit, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK; 4Medical School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK; 5Department of Plastic Surgery, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK; 6Department of Urology, Chesterfield Royal Infirmary, Chesterfield, UK

Background: We aimed to identify the factors influencing UK medical student applicants’ choice of foundation school. We also explored the factors that doctors currently approaching the end of their 2-year program believe should be considered.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted during the 2013–2014 academic year. An online questionnaire was distributed to 2092 final-year medical students from nine UK medical schools and 84 foundation year-2 (FY2) doctors from eight foundation schools. Participants were asked to rank their top 3 from a list of 12 factors that could potentially influence choice of foundation school on a 5-point Likert scale. Collated categorical data from the two groups were compared using a chi-square test with Yates correction.
Results: Geographic location was overwhelmingly the most important factor for medical students and FY2 doctors with 97.2% and 98.8% in agreement, respectively. Social relationships played a pivotal role for medical student applicants. Clinical specialties within the rotations were of less importance to medical students, in comparison to location and social relationships. In contrast, FY2 doctors placed a significantly greater importance on the specialties undertaken in their 2-year training program, when compared to medical students (chi-square; p=0.0001).
Conclusion: UK medical schools should make their foundation program applicants aware of the importance of choosing rotations based on specialties that will be undertaken. Individual foundation schools could provide a more favorable linked application system and greater choice and flexibility of specialties within their 2-year program, potentially making their institution more attractive to future applicants.

Keywords: foundation school, UK postgraduate training, location of training, social relationships

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