The characteristics of general practice and the attractiveness of working as a GP: medical students´ views

Björn Landström1, Bengt Mattsson1, Per Nordin2 and Carl E. Rudebeck3

1Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

2The Skaraborg Institute, Stationsgatan 12, SE-541 30 Skövde, Sweden

3Esplanaden Health Care Centre, Sweden and Institute of Community Medicine, Tromsö University, Norway

Submitted: 27/02/2013; Accepted: 26/02/2014; Published: 15/03/2014

Int J Med Educ. 2014; 5:51-55; doi: 10.5116/ijme.530e.3e4e

© 2014 Björn Landström et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate medical students´ views on general practice based on their experiences in training, and to find out whether there were certain views associated with the intention to become a GP.

Methods: A questionnaire, based on our earlier studies about GP working behaviour, was handed out to medical students in terms 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 and 11 of undergraduate studies in Gothenburg, Sweden. The analysis comprised statistical descriptions and comparisons.

Results: The students regarded general practice positively. They found the work environment good, the GP´s awareness of patients' living conditions necessary, and that GP work requires medical breadth. The status of the GP in the medical profession was not considered high. One-fourth of the students strongly agreed with the possibility of a future as a GP. This attitude was statistically associated with support to the statements that general practice offers a good work environment and should be a major component in undergraduate training. Students with a negative attitude to working as GPs were also negative to having a major component of general practice in undergraduate training.

Conclusions: Medical students with a positive stated attitude towards becoming GPs support changes in undergraduate training to include more general practice. The risk of increasing a negative attitude should be considered when changes are discussed.