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Your Training Counts

Results of the National Trainee Survey, 2014 - Trainee Retention and Career Intentions

Your Training Counts, the annual national trainee experience survey, is designed and delivered by the Medical Council in order to inform and support the continuous improvement of the quality of postgraduate medical training in Ireland.

The third Your Training Counts report focuses on trainee retention and career intentions. Follow the survey on Twitter.

Why are trainee doctors leaving Ireland? - view the infograph.

Find out more about what changes have been made since the 2014 survey.


of trainees who were bullied would leave medical practice in Ireland


the age group most likely to intend to leave medical practice in Ireland


of trainees in higher specialist training said they were likely to leave medical practice in Ireland


of trainees with a limiting illness, disability or health issue are considering leaving medical practice in Ireland


of male trainees stated an intent not to practise medicine in Ireland, compared to 18% of females

1 in 5

trainees intend to practise medicine elsewhere

More Information

Key Points
  • In 2014, as well as inviting trainees to share views on their training experience we also sought their thoughts on career and retention intentions.
  • Over 1,400 trainees answered items on career and retention intentions. 
  • This spotlight describes those responses and highlights significant associations between trainees’ views on career and retention intentions with other variables contained in Your Training Counts (such as gender, health, wellbeing, quality of learning environments etc.).
Trainee Career Intentions
  • The vast majority of trainees (93%) were definitely sure, or probably sure, about the specialty in which they wanted to practice for their long-term future;
  • The three most commonly chosen specialties by trainees were: General Practice (27%), Anaesthesia (9%), and Paediatrics (6%);
  • Trainees who were sure about the choice of specialty for their long-term career tended to report greater quality of life, wellbeing, work engagement and have more positive views on their learning environments than other trainees;
  • 12% of trainees expressed an interest in moving to a specialty area that was significantly different to the one in which they were currently training;
  • General Practice trainees were least likely of all trainees to want a change in specialty area (2%);
  • Trainees in larger hospitals were more likely to express an interest to change specialty areas (17%) than trainees in other settings; and,
  • Trainees in Ophthalmology (58%), Surgery (32%), and Medicine (16%) were most likely to have an interest in changing specialty areas.
Retention Intentions 
  • The majority of trainees (54%) foresaw themselves practising in Ireland for their long-term career;
  • 21% of trainees said they would either probably not (15%) or definitely not (6%) practise medicine in Ireland for the foreseeable future; 
  • Trainees on higher specialist training programmes were most likely to express an intention to leave medical practice in Ireland (30%);
  • Trainees who expressed intentions to stay in Ireland for the foreseeable future rated their learning environments more highly, had higher levels of work engagement, better wellbeing, better quality of life and better health, than trainees who did not;
  • Older trainees were more likely than younger trainees to express an intention to not practise in Ireland for the foreseeable future;
  • Male trainees (25%) were more likely than females (18%) to state an intention to not practise medicine in Ireland for the foreseeable future;
  • Being bullied in training, being undermined by a Consultant/GP, or having a limiting illness, health problem or disability were all significantly associated with increased intentions to leave medical practice in Ireland; 
  • The UK (32%), Canada (24%) and Australia (18%) were the most frequently mentioned destinations for trainees with intentions to leave;
  • 4.5% of trainees intended to leave medicine completely;
  • Trainees who were bullied during training, or who had a limiting illness, health problem or disability, were more likely than others to say they were leaving medicine.
View Previous Your Training Counts Reports

Your Training Counts - main report

Your Training Counts - health and wellbeing