Open Access Research article

Medical residents’ perceptions of their competencies and training needs in health care management: an international comparison

Lizanne Berkenbosch1*, Suzanne Gerdien Schoenmaker2, Susannah Ahern3, Charlotte Søjnæs4, Linda Snell5, Albert J J A Scherpbier6 and Jamiu O Busari7

Author Affiliations

1 School of Health Professions Education (SHE), Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, Maastricht, 6200 MD, the Netherlands

2 Diaconessenhuis Leiden, Houtlaan 55, Leiden, 2334 CK, the Netherlands

3 Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria, St Vincent’s Hospital, PO Box 2900, 41 Victoria Pde, Fitzroy, 3065, Australia

4 Center for Klinisk Uddannelse, Rigshospitalet, afsnit 5404, Blegdamsvej 9, København, 2100, Denmark

5 Centre for Medical Education, McGill University, 1110 Pine Ave West, Montreal, QC, H3A1A3, Canada

6 Maastricht University medical Centre, Postbus 5800, Maastricht, 6202 AZ, the Netherlands

7 Department of educational research & development, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, Maastricht, 6200 MD, the Netherlands

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BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:25  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-25

Published: 13 February 2013



Previous research has shown that Dutch medical residents feel inadequate in certain management areas: 85% had a need for management training and reported preferences on the format of such training. Our objective was to explore if the perceived deficiencies and needs among Dutch residents were similar to those of their peers in other countries, and if a longer duration of the incorporation of the CanMEDS competency framework into curricula as well as management training had an influence on these perceptions.


Medical residents from Denmark, Canada and Australia were approached for participation. The questionnaire used to survey the perceptions of Dutch residents was slightly modified, translated into English and sent by email to all international participants.


Response rates were; Denmark 719/2105 (34%), Canada 177/500 (35%) and Australia 194/1213 (16%) respectively. The Danish as well as the Canadian residents rated their negotiating skills poorly. In Australia the residents found their knowledge on how their specialist department was organized to be insufficient, while residents in the Netherlands rated their knowledge on how the healthcare system was organized as inadequate. In all of the countries, more than 70% of the residents reported a perceived need for management training.


A majority of the residents in all countries felt the need for specific training in developing their management competencies. The adoption of the CanMEDS framework alone seems to be insufficient in meeting residents’ perceived educational needs in this area.

Medical residents; CanMEDS; Managers role; Assessment; International comparison