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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1995 Mar;77(2 Suppl):61-3.

Research in orthopaedic training: the trainees' experience.

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University of London.


Although a higher surgical degree is considered de rigeur for trainees aspiring to the senior registrar grade in general surgery (2,7,4) the same does not appear to be true of orthopaedic surgery. Fifty of 51 registrars and senior registrars in orthopaedic surgery in the North East Thames Region completed a carefully structured and confidential questionnaire which focused on two major aspects. For those who had not undertaken a period in full time research, questions examined future intentions in this area, and the reasons for those intentions. For those who had completed such a period, particular attention was paid to assessing the trainees' views of the educational experience, the value of this experience and the level of supervision received. Registrars and senior registrars are in a phase of training generally referred to as higher training. The majority (56 per cent) of higher orthopaedic trainees (HTs) do not expect to undertake a period of full time research. This is in stark contrast to the situation in general surgery (7). Fourteen of the 50 HTs (28 per cent) had completed a mean of 9.7 months, and 8 (16 per cent) indicated an intention to take such an opportunity, should it arise. For this latter group, the greatest stimulus to this type of work was a specific interest in a certain field, followed by a belief that time spent in full-time research is of value as an end in itself. For those who had been in such a post, a high level of satisfaction in the level of supervision was demonstrated. Two important conclusions arise. For the orthopaedic trainee full-time research is considered a positive choice rather than a hurdle. Trainees also feel they are well supervised and find the exposure to research stimulating and satisfying. This is in clear contrast with the experience of those in general surgery.

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