Internship in Family Medicine: Which Experiences are Important for Students?
Internship in Family Medicine: Which Experiences are Important for Students?german translation / full article
Background: Internships in family medicine can attract an interest among students in later completing specialist training in the discipline. The aim of the present study was to find out if internships can potentially increase their interest in becoming a family practitioner and which factors might be responsible.
Methods: Evaluation forms on internships in family practice from the Institute of General Practice of Goethe University Frankfurt am Main completed (at the end of the internship) between the years 2010 to 2014 were analyzed. The following hypotheses were tested: Motivation to become a family practitioner is higher after the internship (by Cohen’s effect size), an increase in students’ interest in becoming a family practitioner correlates with a good overall rating of the internship on a six-stepped rating-scale (by correlation analysis), quality factors (including e.g. total number of independent encounters with patients, and cooperation with teaching physicians) were associated with a good overall rating of the internship (by hierarchical linear regression).
Results: 1381 evaluation forms from eight successive semesters could be analyzed, which translates into a response rate of 94.85 % (1381/1456). Differences in the average values for interest in becoming a family practitioner before and after completing the block placement yielded small to medium effect sizes (0.22–0.63). The average overall grade for the block placement in family medicine was 5.30 (SD 1.00) and the average difference in interest in becoming a GP before/after was 0.72 (SD 1.39). There was a slight positive correlation of .31 between the two values. Regression analysis revealed that certain items („I learned a great deal“, „cooperation with the teaching physician was pleasing“, „joint discussions of cases provided me with useful feedback for my professional competence“, „the teaching physician was interested in enabling me to improve my capabilities and skills“ and „I was able to train in family medicine procedures“) were positive predictors of the overall grade.
Conclusions: The internship in family medicine is rated very highly by students and the quality of the placement is associated with an increased interest in becoming a family practitioner. Increases in their personal knowledge and good cooperation with the teaching physician are positive predictors for a good overall rating of the internship in family medicine.