Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Students’ early experience of medical school: adjustments and identity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bryan BurfordORCiD, Professor David Kennedy, Professor Gill Vance


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Background: While it is known that starting medical school can be stressful, the subjective complexity of this transition is relatively under-studied. This paper presents the start of a planned longitudinal study looking at how students experience change, and develop into medical students, then doctors, through their time at medical school.Summary of Work: A random sample of 14 first year medical students was selected from respondents to an earlier questionnaire. Narrative interviews were conducted in November 2014, in which participants were asked to describe their experiences of the first two months of medical school, including their identity as a medical student, what had attracted them to medicine, and their anticipation of the next 5 years.Summary of Results: Thematic analysis is ongoing, but preliminary findings suggest that while there are some consistent themes, the experience of new medical students varies. Common experiences related both to academic and personal adjustment, to new ways of working and to new social groups. However, individual descriptions of the stress involved varied, some experiencing it acutely, others seeing it as a relatively minor concern to be worked through but. Participants also varied in the development of their identity as a medical student.Discussion and Conclusions: The process of becoming a medical student has common stresses associated with adaptation to a new academic and social environment. However, subjective perception and experience of these changes varies, and student experience should not be seen as homogeneous.Take-home messages: While all students experience change when they start medical school, the intensity, pace and impact of that change varies between individuals.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burford B, Kennedy D, Vance G

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: The Association for Medical Education in Europe AMEE 2015

Year of Conference: 2015

Pages: 210-210

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Publisher: Association for Medical Education in Europe