Extension of general practice training from three to four years: experiences of a vocational training programme in Southern Ireland.
AffiliationHSE South East GP Training Programme, Waterford, Ireland. firstname.lastname@example.org
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CitationExtension of general practice training from three to four years: experiences of a vocational training programme in Southern Ireland. 2009, 20 (3):167-72 Educ Prim Care
JournalEducation for primary care : an official publication of the Association of Course Organisers, National Association of GP Tutors, World Organisation of Family Doctors
AbstractThe aim of this study was to evaluate the experiences of trainees taking part in an extended (four-year) general practice training programme introduced in the South Eastern region of the Republic of Ireland to replace the previous traditional (three-year) programme. In a qualitative design, eight homogeneous focus groups were held to determine the value of the additional year of training. The first cohort of trainees was interviewed towards the start and at the end of their fourth year. Trainees finishing the following year were also interviewed, as were graduates from the final three-year programme. GP trainers and the four members of the programme directing team comprised two further independent focus groups. Trainees reported that the integration of hospital posts and general practice attachments over the four years was particularly beneficial. The exposure to a variety of different general practices and the opportunity to take part in specialty clinics were considered extremely useful. The fourth year of training was felt to be less pressurised than previous years. Professional and personal development was enhanced; improved readiness to practise and confidence were noted. Perceived disadvantages of extended training included a lack of acknowledgment for doctors in their fourth year and excessive emphasis placed on research during the final year of training. The addition of an extra year of vocational training improves professional and personal development and changes the learning experience for doctors. Doctors felt more confident and ready to enter independent practice at the end of the fourth year of training.
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