South African Family Practice

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Usefulness of patient studies in learning family medicine at postgraduate level

SN Jaffri, GJO Marincowitz, NHB Malete


Background: The Master's in Family Medicine (M Fam Med) is a postgraduate training programme in family medicine at Medunsa. M Fam Med students have to write patient studies as part of requirements to complete their degree. This research was undertaken to develop a deeper understanding of their perceptions about patient studies.

Methods: A descriptive qualitative method was used. A purposeful sample of eight students was selected, with a maximum variation in dimensions of interest. Data were gathered by free attitude interviews, recorded on audiotape. These were transcribed verbatim; themes were identified from the text and were coded into categories. A model was developed to demonstrate the process, and the interrelatedness of and relationships between the themes.

Results: The students generally perceive patient studies as a good learning tool. However, they face certain problems while doing patient studies. These problems arise from difficult student-facilitator relations and from the logistics of doing patient studies, such as a lack of orientation and difficulty in obtaining literature.

Conclusion: Patient studies are appropriate assignments for the M Fam Med programme at Medunsa. The problems, such as strained facilitator-student relationship and logistic problems, encountered during the writing of patient studies, should be addressed.

For full text, click here: SA Family Pract 2004;46(5): 25-29
AJOL African Journals Online