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Open Access Research article

Relationships between academic performance of medical students and their workplace performance as junior doctors

Sandra E Carr1*, Antonio Celenza2, Ian B Puddey1 and Fiona Lake3

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia, MB515, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley 6009, WA, Australia

2 School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia

3 School of Medicine and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia

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BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:157  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-157

Published: 30 July 2014

Abstract

Background

Little recent published evidence explores the relationship between academic performance in medical school and performance as a junior doctor. Although many forms of assessment are used to demonstrate a medical student’s knowledge or competence, these measures may not reliably predict performance in clinical practice following graduation.

Methods

This descriptive cohort study explores the relationship between academic performance of medical students and workplace performance as junior doctors, including the influence of age, gender, ethnicity, clinical attachment, assessment type and summary score measures (grade point average) on performance in the workplace as measured by the Junior Doctor Assessment Tool.

Results

There were two hundred participants. There were significant correlations between performance as a Junior Doctor (combined overall score) and the grade point average (r = 0.229, P = 0.002), the score from the Year 6 Emergency Medicine attachment (r = 0.361, P < 0.001) and the Written Examination in Year 6 (r = 0.178, P = 0.014). There was no significant effect of any individual method of assessment in medical school, gender or ethnicity on the overall combined score of performance of the junior doctor.

Conclusion

Performance on integrated assessments from medical school is correlated to performance as a practicing physician as measured by the Junior Doctor Assessment Tool. These findings support the value of combining undergraduate assessment scores to assess competence and predict future performance.

Keywords:
Workplace based assessment; Junior doctors; Undergraduate medicine