In summer 2012, the SIGN Healthcare Professionals in Training group ran a survey of all junior doctors in training across Scotland. The purpose was to seek the views of trainees about the level of awareness of SIGN and its products and give an opportunity to suggest new ways in which SIGN could support doctors in training. 226 doctors responded and the results are summarised below accompanied by some comments from SIGN.


Q1a     Are you aware of SIGN?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Yes 97.3% 213
No 2.7% 6
answered question 219
skipped question 7

trainee survey graphic 1

Q1b     How do you know about SIGN? Select all that apply
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Mentioned at medical school 61.3% 133
Used Doctors Online Training System (DoTS) module on guidelines and audit 22.1% 48
Recommended by colleagues 52.5% 114
Presentation on SIGN guidelines 33.2% 72
Seen SIGN materials used in a clinical context 86.2% 187
Other 5.5% 12
Other (please specify) 11
answered question 217
skipped question 9

trainee survey graphic2

COMMENT FROM SIGN - We are reassured that the majority of responders were aware of SIGN before completing the survey. The results of these questions indicate that most trainees had seen SIGN guidelines used in a clinical context, which is their primary purpose. Other uses mentioned included involvement with research projects based on SIGN guidelines, use as revision aids and familiarity during work experience. 


Q2a     Do you have the SIGN app for iPhone or Android?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Yes - iphone version 16.5% 37
Yes - Android version 2.7% 6
No 80.8% 181
answered question 224
skipped question 2

trainee survey graphic3

Q2b     How often do you access the app?  Please select one answer:
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Daily 0.0% 0
Twice weekly 3.8% 2
Weekly 7.5% 4
Fortnightly 5.7% 3
Monthly 32.1% 17
Less often 50.9% 27
answered question 53
skipped question 173

trainee survey graphic4

COMMENT FROM SIGN - The free SIGN app was developed to allow instant access to SIGN recommendations when referring to a full guideline is not practical or possible. Although it was the winner of the 2011 NHSScotland e-Health award and, by March 2013, has been downloaded XX,XXX times, the results of this question show that awareness of the app among trainees could be improved. SIGN will continue to work with NHS Education Scotland to promote its products to trainee audiences, and collaborate with universities to arrange opportunities to explain the materials available to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Our respondents asked for more guidelines to be included on the app, and we update the coverage of current SIGN guidelines on a regular basis


Q3a     Are you aware that the SIGN website provides audit tools accredited by NES for doctors in training (SIGN Audit Tools developed by Doctors and Dentists in Training)?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Yes 25.8% 57
No 74.2% 164
answered question 221
skipped question 5

trainee survey graphic5

Q3b Have you downloaded an audit tool?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Yes 11.0% 10
No 89.0% 81
answered question 91
skipped question 135

trainee survey graphic6

Q3c     Have you uploaded the results or your audit?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Yes 2.6% 1
No - Audit tool not useful 5.1% 2
No - Completed audit, decided to keep in- house 17.9% 7
No - Completed audit, asked not to share data 2.6% 1
No - Did not complete audit 28.2% 11
No – Other 43.6% 17
Other (please specify) 1
answered question 39
skipped question 187

COMMENT FROM SIGN - The SIGN Healthcare Professionals in Training group has authored a number of simple audit tools based on key recommendations of published guidelines. These are intended for use by trainees and, once completed (a minimum of two completed audit cycles), if audit data is uploaded back to SIGN we issue a certificate of completion which can be included in training portfolios. To promote the use of audit tools, NHS Education for Scotland has made their evidence based medicine module (part of the Doctors Online Training System – DOTS) mandatory. This will increase the exposure of trainees to the suite of existing SIGN audit tools and encourage the development of new tools.


We asked respondents to suggest further ways in which SIGN could support trainees, and received almost a hundred responses which could be grouped into themes as follows: electronic alerts for new publications, raising awareness of SIGN products in trainees, providing more guidelines and audits on different topics.


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