Factors affecting consultant attitudes to undertaking undergraduate medical student teaching in the UK: a systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective This systematic review aimed to explore consultant attitudes towards teaching undergraduate medical students in the UK.

Design Systematic review.

Methodology Standard systematic review methodology was followed. MEDLINE, EMBASE and OpenGrey were searched from inception to August 2019 to identify studies exploring senior doctors’ attitudes towards teaching undergraduate medical students. Two reviewers independently carried out key methodological steps including study screening/selection, quality assessment and data extraction. A narrative synthesis was undertaken.

Results Five studies were included in the review dating 2003–2015. Two studies used questionnaires, and three used focus groups/semistructured interviews. Key findings identified across all studies were consultants generally found teaching undergraduate medical students enjoyable, and consultants identified time constraints as a barrier to teaching. Other findings were consultants feeling there was a lack of recognition for time spent teaching, and a lack of training/guidance regarding teaching students.

Conclusions This is the first systematic review to explore senior hospital doctors’ attitudes towards teaching undergraduate medical students. Despite these five studies spanning 12 years, the same attitudes and issues regarding teaching are identified by all, suggesting lack of time particularly is a persistent problem regarding consultant-based teaching. An anecdotal impression is that consultants are no longer as enthusiastic about teaching as they once were, but it is evident over the 12 years of these studies that enjoyment levels, and presumably enthusiasm, have not changed significantly.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere042653
JournalBMJ open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2021


  • education & training (see medical education & training), medical education & training, qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas