Making and sharing decisions about management with patients: the views and experiences of pre-registration house officers in general practice and hospital

Med Educ. 2002 Jan;36(1):49-55. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2002.01102.x.


Objectives: To explore the views and experiences of pre-registration house officers (PRHOs) in general practice and hospital settings regarding the concept of patient partnership and their experience of involving patients in management decisions.

Design: The 12 PRHOs who had graduated from British universities and who were working within the Yorkshire Deanery were interviewed towards the end of their four-month general practice attachments. The interviews were semi-structured and analysed qualitatively.

Results: Three major themes emerged. The PRHOs perceived differences in approach between consultations carried out in hospital and primary care settings, with general practitioners being more likely to share information and decisions with patients. As medical students, the PRHOs had little opportunity to practise sharing information and management decisions with patients, and variable experience of this after graduation. On the whole they were favourable to the concept of patient partnership.

Conclusions: Medical students and PRHOs lack training and opportunities to decide on management and discuss this with patients and yet, particularly in general practice settings, they have to practise these skills. The PRHOs had begun to develop strategies to decide how much information to give to patients and to what extent to involve patients in management decisions. This is an area that needs further consideration when planning both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Communication
  • Decision Making*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods
  • England
  • Family Practice
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Physician-Patient Relations