Objectives: Early abortion is a common outpatient procedure, but few family medicine residencies provide abortion training. We wished to assess experiences and obstacles among residency programs that have worked to establish early abortion services.
Methods: From 2001-2004, 14 faculty participated in a collaborative program to initiate abortion training at seven family medicine residencies. Ten focus groups with all trainees were followed by individual semi-structured interviews with a smaller group (n=9) that explored the progress and obstacles they experienced. Individual interviews were recorded and analyzed to identify major themes and sub-themes related to initiating abortion training.
Results: Five of seven sites established abortion training. Five major themes were identified: (1) establishing support, (2) administration, (3) finance, (4) legal matters, and (5) security/demonstrators. Faculty from sites where training was ultimately established rated the sub-themes of billing/reimbursement, obtaining staff support, and state/hospital regulations as most difficult. Gaining support from within the department and institution was most difficult for the two sites that could not establish training. None experienced difficulty with security/demonstrators.
Conclusions: Developing the clinical and administrative capacity to provide early abortion services in family medicine residency programs is feasible. Support from leadership within departments and from the wider institution is important for implementation.