Insights into training and examination performance from the first UK National Public Health Training Audit

University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, United Kingdom
Public Health (Impact Factor: 1.43). 04/2006; 120(3):249-55. DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2005.08.017
Source: PubMed


To investigate predictors of a supportive training relationship and examination success using data from the first UK Public Health Training Audit.
Secondary analysis of data from a national cross-sectional survey of UK public health trainees, conducted in April 2003.
All UK public health trainees were sent a questionnaire including questions on training experience and examination performance. Possible predictive factors of a supportive trainer-trainee relationship and success at Part I and Part II of Membership of Faculty of Public Health examinations were first investigated in univariate analyses, and subsequently using logistic regression.
Two hundred and ninety responses were received (62% response). Supportive trainers gave feedback [odds ratio (OR) = 11.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.7-34.0, P<0.001], spent at least 1 h/week with their trainee (OR = 5.2, 95% CI 1.7-15.4, P = 0.003), held 3-monthly progress meetings (OR = 2.9, 95% CI 1.4-6.1, P = 0.006), and encouraged wide training experience (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.2-5.4, P = 0.016). Predictors of success in the Part I examination by the end of the second year of training were medical background (OR = 4.4, 95% CI 1.6-12.2, P = 0.004) and perceived adequacy of examination support (OR = 4.2, 95% CI 1.7-10.0, P = 0.001). Predictors of success in the Part II examination by the end of the fourth year of training were access to examiners (OR = 4.6, 95% CI 1.3-16.2) and wide experience (OR = 4.1, 95% CI 1.1-14.5).
Trainees feel supported when provided with adequate trainer contact time, feedback and wide experience. Part I examination success appears to be more likely amongst trainees with a medical background and those given examination support. Part II success is related to the breadth of a trainee's experience and access to examiner support.

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    ABSTRACT: Since 1997, UK public health training has undergone major changes, including the creation of specialist registrars (SpRs), introduction of a competency framework, admission of non-medical (specialist) trainees and National Health Service organizational change. It was therefore considered timely to audit the quality of this training. Cross-sectional survey of all UK public health trainees, conducted in April 2003. The survey questions were based on 75 previously identified standards, with three sections: induction (30 standards), health protection (13 standards) and general training (32 standards). Results were calculated for the UK. Deaneries were compared on 10 key standards, as was the training of SpRs and specialist trainees. Two hundred and ninety responses were received (62% response rate). Only 16 (21%) of 75 standards were met by at least 80% of respondents, with problems in induction, health protection, secretarial facilities and examination support. Across 10 key standards (including initial welcome, trainer support, breadth/relevance of work and facilities), 59% indicated that their training had met at least eight standards. Results for individual deaneries were significantly different (P = 0.02), although 13 of 16 had median scores of eight out of 10, or over. Deaneries with specialists scored lower than those without (median scores eight vs nine, P = 0.003). Median specialist and SpR scores on the 10 key standards were seven and eight, respectively (P<0.001). In addition, SpRs were more likely to be 'on-call' [odds ratio (OR) = 66.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 17.2-259.4, P<0.001] and to feel prepared for this role (OR = 10.7, 95% CI 1.4-79.8) than specialists. This was the first UK National Audit of Public Health Training. Few standards were achieved amongst respondents, although the levels set may be considered to be high and the response rate (62%) was less than optimal, potentially biasing results. Despite these caveats, recent organizational change in England appears to have led to significant training disruption among respondents. Nevertheless, repeating such an audit annually within deaneries could help to improve public health training throughout the UK.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2006 · Public Health