Exposure and attitudes to adolescent health amongst Paediatric trainees in Northern Ireland: a mixed-methods study.

To determine the exposure and attitudes of paediatric trainees towards adolescent medicine.All paediatric trainees in the Northern Ireland deanery (n=107) were invited to participate in an online survey in March 2016. The questionnaire was based on the ‘Modified Perceptions of Adolescent Issues and Resources: Care of Adolescents’ questionnaire. The questions included a 5-point Likert scale (1-strongly disagree, 5-strongly agree) as well as open questions. All paediatric trainees were invited to attend focus groups to expand on themes generated from the questionnaire.The response rate for the paediatric survey was 62% (n=66). Trainees identified adolescence as an area of importance similar to paediatrics and neonates; however, knowledge, confidence, skills and previous teaching in adolescent medicine were lower than for neonatal medicine and general paediatrics. Trainees who saw ≥6 adolescent patients per week were more likely to rate the importance of adolescent medicine higher. Trainees’ perceived confidence, knowledge, self-rated skills and prior teaching in adolescent medicine were strongly correlated. Most (70%) respondents stated that they had not attended an adolescent transition clinic during their postgraduate training. Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching for adolescent health was rated poorly.This project identified a paediatric trainee population that are aware of the importance of adolescent health but with low perceived knowledge, skills and confidence to manage them. Education is required to enhance learning and improve outcomes for adolescent patients.

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