Length of family medicine training and readiness for independent practice: Residents’ perspectives at one Canadian university

  • Kristyn Jewell Dr. Jewell is a practicing family physician and UBC family medicine resident at the time of the study.
  • Christie Newton Associate Professor Director, Continuing Professional Development and Community Engagement Department of Family Practice Faculty of Medicine The University of British Columbia
  • Shafik Dharamsi Associate Professor Family Medicine Residency Research Lead St. Paul’s Hospital Site. UBC Department of Family Practice Faculty of Medicine The University of British Columbia

Abstract

Objectives: There is ongoing debate in North America around the appropriate length of training for family physicians. This pilot study presents the results of a qualitative exploration of the viewpoints of family medicine residents at one Canadian university who were asked to reflect on their level of readiness for practice following the standard two years of training.

Methods: Twenty-three family medicine residents completed an online qualitative survey that asked them to rank their self-perceived level of preparedness around the key CanMEDS-FM roles and competencies. Six residents participated in a follow-up focus group interview. A qualitative analysis of written responses to the survey and focus group data provided an insight into the residents’ viewpoints.

Results: There was a sense that two years is not enough to adequately prepare for independent practice. Residents reported feeling well prepared around competencies related to communication skills and addressing psychosocial issues, however, they indicated that they would feel better prepared in their role as generalists if they had greater exposure to a broader spectrum of clinical domains and issues around practice management.

Conclusions: Lengthening training in family medicine continues to receive mixed reviews. Canadian family medicine residents appear to have to master a wider breadth of knowledge within a shorter training period compared to their peers in other specialties. The new competency-based curriculum (Triple C) in family medicine may influence the residents’ sense of readiness for practice.

Author Biographies

Christie Newton, Associate Professor Director, Continuing Professional Development and Community Engagement Department of Family Practice Faculty of Medicine The University of British Columbia
Dr. Newton is Associate Professor with the UBC Department of Family Practice. She also serves at Director of Continuing Professional Development and Community Engagement. Her research focuses on inter professional education, faculty development, medical education and collaborative practice.
Shafik Dharamsi, Associate Professor Family Medicine Residency Research Lead St. Paul’s Hospital Site. UBC Department of Family Practice Faculty of Medicine The University of British Columbia
Dr. Dharamsi is Associate Professor with the UBC Department of Family Practice and Family Medicine Residency Research Lead at St. Paul’s Hospital Site. His scholarship focuses on medical education, professionalism, health advocacy, social accountability, global health and social medicine.
Published
2015-03-20