What influences on their professional development do general practice trainees report from their hospital placements? A qualitative study

Joanna Peart, Nele R. Michels, Karena Hanley, Cian Dolan, Julie Luyckx, Valerie Tanghe, Emma Peeters, Milda Burneikaite, Sonata Varvuolyte, Vesna Homar, Lucija Galič, Kamala Klobučar Kragelj, Geoff McCoombe & Nynke Scherpbier

Background: The clinical learning environment is important in GP specialty training and impacts professional development. Uniquely for GP trainees, about half of their training periods occur in a hospital environment, which is not their final workplace. There is still little understanding of how hospital-based training influences GP’s professional development.

Objectives: To seek the views of GP trainees on how their hospital experience contributes to their professional development as a GP.

Methods: This international and qualitative study seeks the views of GP trainees from Belgium, Ireland, Lithuania, and Slovenia. Semi-structured interviews were performed in the original languages. A joint thematic analysis in the English  language resulted in key categories and themes.

Results: From the four themes identified, GP trainees were found to experience additional challenges on top of the service provision/education tensions, which are common to all hospital trainees. Despite these, the hospital rotation component of GP training is valued by trainees. Astrong finding of our study is the need to ensure that learning from the hospital placements is  placed firmly in the context of general practice, e.g. GP placements prior or parallel with the
hospital placements, educational activities resourced by GPs during their hospital experience, encouraging hospital teachers to have greater awareness of the educational needs of GPs, including an awareness of their training curriculum.

Conclusion: This novel study highlights how hospital placements for GP trainees could be enhanced. Further study could be broadened to recently qualified GPs, which may uncover new areas of interest.

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