The role of the smartphone in the transition from medical student to foundation trainee: a qualitative interview and focus group study

Shenouda, John E A, Davies, Bethany and Haq, Inam (2018) The role of the smartphone in the transition from medical student to foundation trainee: a qualitative interview and focus group study. BMC Medical Education, 18 (175). ISSN 1472-6920

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (825kB)
[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (717kB)


Background: The transition from medical student to junior doctor is one of the most challenging in medicine, affecting both doctor and patient health. Opportunities to support this transition have arisen from advances in mobile technology and increased smartphone ownership.

Methods: This qualitative study consisted of six in-depth interviews and two focus groups with Foundation Year 1 Trainees (intern doctors) and final year medical students within the same NHS Trust. A convenience sample of 14 participants was recruited using chain sampling. Interviews and focus groups were recorded, transcribed verbatim, analysed in accordance with thematic analysis and presented below in keeping with the standards for reporting qualitative research.

Results: Participants represented both high and low intensity users. They used their smartphones to support their prescribing practices, especially antimicrobials through the MicroGuide™ app. Instant messaging, via WhatsApp, contributed to the existing bleep system, allowing coordination of both work and learning opportunities across place and time. Clinical photographs were recognised as being against regulations but there had still been occasions of use despite this. Concerns about public and colleague perceptions were important to both students and doctors, with participants describing various tactics employed to successfully integrate phone use into their practices.

Conclusion: This study suggests that both final year medical students and foundation trainees use smartphones in everyday practice. Medical schools and healthcare institutions should seek to integrate such use into core curricula/training to enable safe and effective use and further ease the transition to foundation training. We recommend juniors are reminded of the potential risks to patient confidentiality associated with smartphone use.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
Research Centres and Groups: Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research
Depositing User: emma louise Bertrand
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2018 13:03
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2018 13:31

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update