Medical student attachments in private practice – The experience and views of the family practitioners

  • D O’Mahony Family Practitioner, Bridge Street, Port St Johns
Keywords: undergraduate training, general practitioners, survey


Background: Medical student attachments with family/general practitioners (GPs) in non-academic or private practice are a valued resource in the undergraduate teaching of Family Medicine. This study describes the experience and views of GPs in private practice with final-year medical student attachments from the University of Transkei. Methods: A postal questionnaire was distributed to all GPs who had one or more student attachment. Results: Out of 37 GPs, 25 replied, giving a response rate of 68%. Positive experiences of the attachments were enjoyment of teaching (n=24) and improvement in knowledge (n=20). Staff and patients' reaction to the students was felt to be positive overall. Negative aspects reported were finishing later at work (n=11) and patients leaving the practice (n=2). All GPs were willing to have students again and could take, on average, three students per annum. Twenty-one (84%) stated that a one-week's attachment was satisfactory. Eighteen (72%) were interested in teacher training. The majority (64%, n=14) did not require payment for teaching and 15 (60%) stated that they should be appointed as lecturers. Patients' consent to be seen by students was obtained by most GPs (n=13) when accompanied by the student. Out of 16 GPs who had students with Xhosa as their second language, eight assessed their language proficiency as poor. Conclusions: The GPs in private practice that have medical student attachments enjoy teaching and their overall experience is positive. They feel their teaching commitment should be recognised by an academic appointment. Issues of patients' consent to examination and student language proficiency need further exploration.

SA Fam Pract 2004;46(9): 27-30


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-6204
print ISSN: 2078-6190