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N Z Med J. 2009 Oct 9;122(1304):23-32.

The training, experience, and confidence of junior doctors in performing pleural procedures.

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Department of Medicine, Middlemore Hospital, Hospital Road, Otahuhu, Auckland 1062, New Zealand.



Pleural procedures may cause patient discomfort and serious complications if performed inadequately. We surveyed junior doctors to provide information about training and experience.


We surveyed 493 junior doctors working in departments involved in pleural procedures in three teaching hospitals via postal questionnaires in 2002.


The response rate was 66%. Formal training in the performance of pleural procedures was limited at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Theoretical training at postgraduate level in pleural aspiration, chest drain insertion, and closed pleural biopsies was reported by 34%, 40%, and 14% of respondents respectively. Practical training using animal or artificial models occurred infrequently. Pleural aspiration, chest drain insertion, and pleural biopsy had been performed at least once by 91%, 66%, and 41% of respondents respectively. Most doctors felt they needed more training in chest drain insertion and pleural biopsy. Confidence in performing procedures was related to the number of times the procedure had been performed but not to formal teaching.


This study provides a comprehensive survey of the background training, experience and confidence levels of junior medical staff in performing pleural procedures. Training in pleural procedures was limited and our results suggest the need for better training programmes and supervision of junior doctors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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