Present State of the Seminar Program for Postgraduate Education in Family Medicine
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2016.0500-0507german translation / full article
Background: Various institutions in Germany offer extra-occupational seminar programs (SP) for doctors completing their postgraduate program in family medicine. The seminar programs, which are attended on a voluntary basis, contribute significantly to both the formation of an identity within family medicine as well as to enhancing general medical competence. In Germany, several SPs have been implemented efficiently while others are in their start-up phase. This article aims at providing helpful advice for the design of new programs.
Methods: A standardized questionnaire was sent to 37 academic institutions of family medicine in Germany as well as to one coordination center for postgraduate programs in Bavaria in order to find out about existing SPs. In addition, an online search was conducted. Also, we collected some actual challenges and problems of SPs in a special DEGAM preconference workshop. The results allow the description of the current state, structural specifics and on-site problems of SPs.
Results: The standardized questionnaire identified 10 already established SPs. Via the online search, another three SPs from other universities were found. The most important topics addressed by these 13 SPs are: common reasons for consultation and how to treat them according to current guidelines, practice and staff management, communication, disease prevention, palliative care and further minor topics. The challenges for SPs most often expressed concerned: no timely leave of absence by employers, recruiting lecturers, finding appropriate lecture rooms and making sure the lectures are focused on family medicine. So far, most SPs focus on knowledge transfer rather than practical tutorials.
Conclusions: SPs which are currently in the process of being established can profit from networking and the exchange of ideas between existing SPs. SPs will contribute to the formation of an identity in family medicine and to the increasing attractiveness of the same. One way of addressing structural problems could consist in financial support through nationwide complementary funding. Postgraduate programs in family medicine can be improved significantly if competence centers are established nationwide and if locally coordinating doctors are appropriately funded. Additional qualifications, such as palliative care, pain relief therapy, geriatrics – frequently demanded for practitioners of family medicine – could be attained by completing the seminar program and passing the final examination.