Journal of Primary Health Care Journal of Primary Health Care Society
Journal of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Educating vocationally trained family physicians: a survey of graduates from a postgraduate medical education programme

Wayne K. Cunningham 1 3 , Susan M. Dovey 2
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Bahrain

2 Department of General Practice and Rural Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand

3 Correspondence to: Wayne K. Cunningham, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Bahrain P.O. Box 15503, Adilya, Bahrain. Email: wcunningham@rcsi-mub.com

Journal of Primary Health Care 8(2) 115-121 https://doi.org/10.1071/HC16016
Published: 30 June 2016

Journal Compilation © Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 2016.
This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Since 1991 the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand has offered postgraduate qualifications specifically designed to educate general practitioners (GPs) about their unique work environment.

AIM: To determine motivations and impacts of postgraduate education for practising GPs.

METHODS: Survey of the 100 graduates of the University of Otago, Dunedin postgraduate general practice programme. Ninety five living graduates were approached and 70 (73.7%) responded. Quantitative data about disposition of respondents before enrolling and after completion of the programme were analysed using chi-square and paired t-tests. Free text responses about motivations, impacts and outcomes of the program were thematically analysed.

RESULTS: 64 GPs graduated with a postgraduate diploma and 36 with a masters degree in general practice. Although the mean number of graduates was 3.5 and 2.0 (respectively), annual enrolments averaged 25.1. Most graduates (60.9%) were aged in their 40s when they started studying and most (94.3%) had a spouse and/or children at home.

DISCUSSION: This voluntary postgraduate medical education complements traditional medical training but has low external value despite personal, practising and professional benefits. Graduates valued engagement above completion of a qualification.

KEYWORDS: Medical education; general practitioners; scholarship; professionalism


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