October 2016


The opinions of medical employers on the Bachelor's degree programme in Medicine

Editorial Department - AQU Catalunya

The views of employers on the quality of higher education is a key factor in assessing the fitness-for-purpose of provision, but even more so in the case of the Bachelor’s degree programme in Medicine given that, pursuant to prevailing regulations, holders of the degree have the right to freely practice as non-specialist medical practitioners.1

The survey and study of the opinions of medical employers forms part of the Employers project 2013-2015 undertaken in cooperation with Obra Social "la Caixa", the purpose of which is to gather the opinions of employers on the skills and training of recent graduates from higher education institutions in Catalonia.

A quantitative and qualitative methodology was used to gather the opinions of employers in the medical and health care sector. The following figure shows the three ways that information was gathered to assess the fitness-for-purpose of study programmes in Medicine and their match with the requirements of the labour market. 

Diagram 1. Recent studies, with the sample analysed, on the fitness-for-purpose of training provided by programmes of study in Medicine in higher education institutions in Catalonia, from the perspective of the labour market

Estudis recents i mostra analitzada

A total number of 90 survey responses were received from chief medical officers at medical facilities and clinics in both the public hospital network in Catalonia (Xarxa Hospitalària d’Utilització Pública) and under the Catalan Institute for Health (ICS). The surveys were carried out online.

As can be seen from the figures from the 2014 survey on the employment outcomes of graduates in Medicine, the employment rate for graduates in 2014 was highest in Medicine (96%) compared to degrees in all other subjects, and there was also a very high level education-job skills match (95% of graduates had graduate-level job duties and responsibilities specific to their degree studies, with the remaining 5% having graduate-level job duties and responsibilities). 95% would also choose to take the same degree programme again.

The main results and findings are given below.


Assessment of the system for recruiting medical interns

The majority of employers (77%) rated the procedure for acquiring a medical internship as being either suitable or very suitable.

The main shortcoming of the system for obtaining an internship is that it does not permit the filtering of social skills (communication, cooperation and collaboration, professional values) that are an essential aspect of the profession.

The factors considered to be the most important for employers as regards recruitment were: willingness to work flexible hours, and a good command of English.

Diagram 2. Mean level of importance of the factors assessed by chief medical officers in the recruitment of medical interns

Importància mitjana dels factors que valorarien els caps de servei en el procés de contractació dels MIR

Skills of medical interns

The skills considered to be important were associated with the roles of collaboration, communication and professionalism.

The skills given the lowest rating were those connected with the role of the health advocate (knowledge of health care-related support and educational services for patients) and the role of leadership in the health system. There were no significant differences between types of medical and healthcare facility.

The mean level of satisfaction among employers was 7.5, the highest among the four different employer surveys carried out so far (the other three being of private sector employers; employers in preschool, primary and secondary education institutions; and employers in the nursing sector).

Diagram 3. Comparison of the mean levels of the importance of and satisfaction with the skills of medical interns

Comparativa de les mitjanes d'importància i satisfacció amb les competències dels MIR

In all skills there was room for either improvement or development, i.e. the level of importance was rated higher than the level of satisfaction. Skills with more shortcomings were associated with the roles of collaboration and communication. In the case of improvement in ICT training and leadership, the room for improvement was minimal.

Learning challenges and necessary skills

According to the survey data, the challenges facing training in the coming years include the integration of learning methods that provide for the development and acquisition of skills in the practical and relational dimension of the profession, namely, resources, including scheduling, time management and the efficient use of resources, and the role of collaboration, which takes in communication, team work and a positive attitude.

Diagram 4. Room for skills improvement

Marge de millora dels blocs de competències

According to the data from this survey, skills associated with languages and the use of ICT were not an obvious priority.

Orientation, training and innovation at medical and healthcare facilities

Almost all medical and healthcare facilities provided orientation for medical interns. The most frequent was the provision of a mentor or tutor on entering the facility, and also scheduled meetings according to identified training requirements.

The majority of medical and healthcare facilities have quality enhancement projects (88%) and innovate on the basis of new forms of association with other medical and healthcare facilities (87%). 75% are in the process of making important changes in technology.

Diagram 5. Innovative actions at facility and/or service level

Accions innovadores al centre sanitari i/o servei

Cooperation with universities

The most frequent form of cooperation with HEIs was internships (76%), and the least frequent was participation in the design of curricula and study programmes (32%). 

For more information

FRANK, J. R.; SNELL, L.; SHERBINO, J. (ed.) (2015) Can Meds 2015 Physician Competency Framework. Ottawa: Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL (2015) Outcomes for graduates. Tomorrow's Doctors. Manchester: General Medical Council. <http://www.gmc-uk.org/Outcomes_for_graduates_Jul_15.pdf_61408029.pdf>.

GOVLOOP (2016) Cybersecurity, analytics & more: The 8 government Health Trends You Need to know. Washington: GovLoop.
INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL EDUCATION (2002) "Global Minimum Essential Requirements in Medical Education". A: Medical Teacher, núm. 24, pàg. 130-135.

THE SCOTTISH DEAN'S MEDICAL CURRICULUM GROUP (2000) Learning outcomes for the medical undergraduate in Scotland: A foundation for competent and reflective practitioners. <http://www.scottishdoctor.org/resources/scotdoc1.pdf>.

1 Prevailing legislation:


  • Act 44/2003, 21 November, concerning regulation of the medical and healthcare professions, whereby the medical profession is a regulated profession.
  • Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications, including the formal qualifications of doctors, on the basis of coordinated minimum conditions for training.
  • Resolution, 17 December 2007, by the Secretary of State for Universities and Research, concerning the conditions for and fitness-of-purpose of programmes of study.
  • Order ECI/332/2008, 13 February, whereby the requirements for the validation of recognised programmes of study in Medicine were established.



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