Early patient contact in primary care: a new challenge

Ann-Christin Haffling, Anders Håkansson, Barbro Hagander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The Medical School of Lund University, Sweden, has introduced an early patient contact course, including training in communication and examination skills. The course runs parallel with theoretical subjects during the students' first two-and-a-half years. General practitioner (GP) participation is gradually increasing, and in the last half-year of the course GPs in all health centres in the area are involved. Little is known about the GPs' interest, competence and time for this new task. Aim To describe the GPs' attitudes towards teaching and the rewards and problems they experience. Subjects 30 GPs teaching third-year medical students. Method Semistructured interview study. Data analysis by a method described by Malterud. Results The attitude towards teaching was mostly positive and the teachers were confident about teaching examination procedure. Among rewards of teaching, improved quality of, clinical practice was the main theme, but imparting knowledge to others, contact with enthusiastic students, and gains in self-esteem were also mentioned. Problems with teaching were mostly due to external factors such as lack of time and space, but concern about a negative effect on patient care was also recognized. Educational objectives of the course were not completely accepted. GPs were not fully aware about what to expect from the students, with subsequent problems concerning how to assess students' performance and how to give effective feedback. Conclusions The teaching of junior medical students is maintained by the GPs' enthusiasm for teaching. However, teacher training is required and the crucial issues of time and space have to be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-908
JournalMedical Education
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Free keywords

  • SoTL


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