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A Late Decision in Favor of Family Medicine

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2017.0324–0328

german translation / full article

Results of a Survey Among Doctors that Completed Specialist Training in General Practice

Background: A serious shortage of family doctors is already becoming apparent in Germany, particularly in ruraI areas. Structured vocational training is one way to encourage more doctors to specialize in general practice. It is therefore important to get to know potential difficulties facing specialist-training programs.

Methods: The Competence Center for Vocational Training in Family Medicine in Frankfurt am Main developed a respective questionnaire for graduates of this training in the German state of Hesse. The doctors were asked retrospectively what they thought of their training and how they viewed their futures.

Results: 247 questionnaires were distributed, of which 154 were filled out and returned (response rate 62.3 %). Participants in the survey averaged 40 years of age; 65 %, of them were women. On average, the time between receiving a license to practice medicine and being employed as a doctor was 11.4 months (n = 112). The respondents said that from being employed as a doctor for the first time to completing vocational training in family medicine took an average of 92.3 months (about 7 years 8 months) (n = 152). Most of the doctors that completed the training in Hesse (63.3 %) decided in favor of specializing in family medicine during their training and thus rather late. Two years after the survey, 61.5 % of respondents expect to be owners of their own practice and want to work an average of 35.8 hours a week.

Conclusions: Attractive and structured vocational training and a seamless transition between finishing medical studies and employment as a doctor would ideally shorten the average time required for vocational training, and especially the long period between completing medical studies and deciding to specialize in family medicine. Due to the high proportion of young doctors and the interruptions resulting from maternity leave and part-time work due to parental leave, as well as part-time employment in general, is not realistically to expect that the average time approaches five years. There is hope for rural areas, however, as respondents that had completed their vocational training were inclined to consider settling there.


(State: 24.01.2018)

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