In autumn 2018, the Young Doctors’ Association of Finland collaborated with the Finnish Medical Association on a specialist training location survey to explore the training and working conditions of specializing physicians in Finland. Respondents were asked whether they would recommend their specialization location to a friend or colleague. HUS ranked near the bottom of the recommendation scale.

The findings prompted considerable debate within HUS. Subsequently, the experiences of specializing physicians were explored in a qualitative survey led by Research Director Anne Pitkäranta where anonymous responses were allowed. The response rate was low, and the survey report painted a bleak picture. Management and instructors were forced to admit that they had had an unfoundedly positive image of the everyday work of specializing physicians. The feedback was taken seriously in all HUS disciplines.

Corrective action was taken immediately because specializing physicians are an important stakeholder group. They constitute about one third of all physicians at HUS and make an invaluable contribution to everyday specialist medical care.

Interaction through networks and feedback surveys

HUS is preparing to introduce the Joint Commission International (JCI) quality system. Joint Commission International is a large, internationally respected health care evaluation organization that has also issued quality requirements for teaching and specialization training.

This year, the responses of specializing physicians were analyzed separately in the workplace barometer in addition to their responses being included in the physicians’ responses overall. The findings show that potential for specializing physicians to influence their own work must be further improved.

A network of senior specializing physicians at HUS was set up for the purpose of improving working conditions, safeguarding the interests of specializing physicians and conveying information between them and the management. The purpose of this cooperation is to improve the quality of specialization training.

An online CLES survey is also being used to collect feedback on the quality of instruction provided to specializing physicians at HUS. Feedback may be given anonymously.

“Systematic collecting of feedback influences the quality of teaching, allowing problems to be addressed at an early stage. It is important to hear from the specializing physicians themselves,” says Pitkäranta.

Specializing physicians also have their own dedicated Teams workspace for posting items such as orientation matters and online training courses on patient safety that are compulsory viewing for new employees joining HUS. The teaching web pages are also constantly being updated and added to. The aim here is to further improve communications with specializing physicians.