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News2008January › Junior Doctors: It's true, they don't really know what they are doing › January 2008

Junior Doctors: It's true, they don't really know what they are doing

If you've ever spent any time in hospital, you've probably been treated by a junior doctor

If you've ever spent any time in hospital, you've probably been treated by a junior doctor. And, inevitably, your chances of suffering malpractice or medical error as a result increase dramatically.

Not surprisingly, hospitals are very guarded about revealing the actual risk factors in being treated by a junior, but researchers have at least been able to find out what it is they are doing wrong.

In 240 cases they reviewed, they discovered that errors of judgement and a lack of technical competence were the two major problems, suggesting they just weren't ready to treat patients.

That being the case, the researchers also discovered that the junior was left very much to his or her own devices, and had very little support or back-up to help them make the right decision.

(Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007; 167: 2030-6).


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