Issue: 2018 > March > original article

Residents’ readiness for out-of-hours service: a Dutch national survey

A. Baten, C.P. Bleeker-Rovers, F. van den Heijkant, J. de Graaf, C.R.M.G. Fluit
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Background: Residents play a crucial role in out-of-hours service. Their perceived readiness for out-of-hours service, however, remains underexposed. This national exploratory study assesses whether or not Dutch residents feel sufficiently prepared to provide out-of-hours service at the time of their first shift, and aims to identify factors influencing perceived readiness.
Methods: An online questionnaire focussing on residents’ working conditions was accessible from 21 September to 10 November 2015. Questions targeting perceived readiness for out-of-hours service were presented to all responding medical residents actively involved in out-of-hours service. Residents who felt sufficiently prepared were compared with residents who did not, exploring both individual characteristics and environmental factors.
Results: A total of 960 residents (mean age 32.5 years ± 3.5, 72.4% female) from over 30 different medical specialties were included. Thirty-six percent of responding residents felt insufficiently prepared to provide out-of-hours service at the time of their first shift. Current junior status (p = 0.020), prolonged clinical experience prior to the first shift (p < 0.001), targeted training (p < 0.001), assessment of relevant skills and competencies (p < 0.001), and formal consequences following negative assessment (p = 0.001) were positively associated with perceived readiness.
Conclusion: One-third of responding residents felt insufficiently prepared for their first out-of-hours shift. Our results emphasise the need for sufficient time to gain clinical experience as a new graduate, and underline the positive contribution of targeted training and assessment of skills and competencies relevant to out-of-hours service.