Doctors with dyslexia: a world of stigma, stonewalling and silence, still?

Shaw, Sebastian Charles Keith and Anderson, John Leeds (2017) Doctors with dyslexia: a world of stigma, stonewalling and silence, still? MedEdPublish, 6 (1). ISSN 2312-7996

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Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty, affecting 10% of the UK and worldwide populations. It is also becoming increasingly recognised within medical education.

There is little research into the experiences of doctors with dyslexia. This paper forms part five of a programme of research from the authors into the experiences of UK medical students and junior doctors with dyslexia.

Our research question is: “what are the lived experiences of medical students and junior doctors with dyslexia?”


This is an Interpretive Phenomenological (qualitative) study. Dyslexic doctors were recruited from a single UK Foundation School. Participants were interviewed, in-depth, by telephone. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. These underwent a thematic Template Analysis, which was verified in an iterative manner by both researchers.


Eight participants were interviewed. Core themes emerging for junior doctors’ experiences were:

Their “disease”; perception from others; stonewalling; emotional responses; disclosure; influence on career pathway; and working life as the real word.


Our results highlight a world of stigma, stonewalling, bullying and a reluctance to disclose. These results may suggest a need for education and public information about dyslexia, to begin to tackle this prejudice. Making adjustments to time in undergraduate exams may also not be enough. One of the most startling findings was the fear of being identified as “dyslexic”.

Keywords: Dyslexia, Interpretive Phenomenology, Specific Learning Difficulties, Junior Doctors, Lived Experiences

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Division of Medical Education
Subjects: L Education
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R735 Medical education
Depositing User: Dr Sebastian C K Shaw
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2018 08:42
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2018 12:56

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