↓ Skip to main content

“A steep learning curve”: junior doctor perspectives on the transition from medical student to the health-care workplace

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Medical Education, May 2017
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (87th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
11 tweeters
2 Facebook pages


56 Dimensions

Readers on

195 Mendeley
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
“A steep learning curve”: junior doctor perspectives on the transition from medical student to the health-care workplace
Published in
BMC Medical Education, May 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12909-017-0931-2
Pubmed ID

Nancy Sturman, Zachary Tan, Jane Turner


The transition from medical student to hospital-based first year junior doctor (termed "intern" in Australia) is known to be challenging, and recent changes in clinical learning environments may reduce graduate preparedness for the intern workplace. Although manageable challenges and transitions are a stimulus to learning, levels of burnout in junior medical colleagues are concerning. In order to prepare and support medical graduates, educators need to understand contemporary junior doctor perspectives on this transition. Final-year University of Queensland medical students recruited junior doctors working in diverse hospital settings, and videorecorded individual semi-structured interviews about their transition from medical student to working as a junior doctor. Two clinical academics (NS and JT) and an intern (ZT) independently conducted a descriptive analysis of interview transcripts, and identified preliminary emerging concepts and themes, before reaching agreement by consensus on the major overarching themes. Three key themes emerged from the analysis of 15 interviews: internship as a "steep learning curve"; relationships and team; and seeking help. Participants described the intern transition as physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. They learned to manage long days, administrative and clinical tasks, frequent interruptions and time pressures; identify priorities; deal with criticism without compromising key relationships; communicate succinctly; understand team roles (including their own status within hospital hierarchies); and negotiate conflict. Participants reported a drop in self-confidence, and difficulty maintaining self-care and social relationships. Although participants emphasised the importance of escalating concerns and seeking help to manage patients, they appeared more reluctant to seek help for personal issues and reported a number of barriers to doing so. Findings may assist educators in refining their intern preparation and intern training curricula, and ensuring that medical school and intern preparation priorities are not seen as competing. Insights from non-medical disciplines into the organisational and relational challenges facing junior doctors and their health-care teams may enhance inter-professional learning opportunities. Workplace support and teaching, especially from junior colleagues, is highly valued during the demanding intern transition.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 11 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 195 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 195 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 35 18%
Student > Bachelor 25 13%
Researcher 21 11%
Student > Ph. D. Student 12 6%
Student > Doctoral Student 12 6%
Other 44 23%
Unknown 46 24%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 84 43%
Nursing and Health Professions 14 7%
Psychology 9 5%
Social Sciences 8 4%
Business, Management and Accounting 7 4%
Other 18 9%
Unknown 55 28%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 15. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 24 August 2017.
All research outputs
of 21,724,962 outputs
Outputs from BMC Medical Education
of 3,103 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 288,573 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Medical Education
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,724,962 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 91st percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 3,103 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a little more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 6.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 288,573 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 87% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them