IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A social learning perspective on the development of doctors in the UK National Health Service


  • Spilg, Edward
  • Siebert, Sabina
  • Martin, Graeme


How best to develop doctors is a problem for many healthcare systems. The current trend towards competence-based models, especially in UK postgraduate medical education, appears to neglect lessons emerging from social learning theories in the workplace. However, social learning itself, especially communities of practice (CoP), also has shortcomings because it needs to take into account broader social, economic and political factors. Our contribution is to show how an extended version of CoP might shed light on the education and development of doctors by drawing on data from a qualitative interview study of participants’ experiences of three eras of postgraduate medical education. We also make recommendations for further research and practice in this critical field of healthcare.

Suggested Citation

  • Spilg, Edward & Siebert, Sabina & Martin, Graeme, 2012. "A social learning perspective on the development of doctors in the UK National Health Service," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1617-1624.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:9:p:1617-1624
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.06.014

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jippes, Erik & Achterkamp, Marjolein C. & Brand, Paul L.P. & Kiewiet, Derk Jan & Pols, Jan & van Engelen, Jo M.L., 2010. "Disseminating educational innovations in health care practice: Training versus social networks," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1509-1517, May.
    2. Irena Grugulis & Dimitrinka Stoyanova, 2011. "The missing middle: communities of practice in a freelance labour market," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 25(2), pages 342-351, June.
    3. Williams, Allan M. & Baláz, Vladimir, 2008. "International return mobility, learning and knowledge transfer: A case study of Slovak doctors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(11), pages 1924-1933, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:9:p:1617-1624. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.