Introducing Undergraduate Medical Teaching Into General Practice: An Action Research Study

Med Teach. 2006 Nov;28(7):e192-7. doi: 10.1080/01421590600825383.


Following the publication of Tomorrow's Doctors and as a result of increasing numbers of students recruited to medical school it is necessary to involve more general practitioners (family physicians) in undergraduate medical education. Students have responded positively regarding experiences in general practices with a broad spectrum of clinical conditions to be seen and greater involvement in clinical decision-making. This action research study followed a small group general practice in South Wales through the required preparation for undergraduate medical education and its first year of teaching. Preparatory work for the practice focused mainly on summarizing patient notes, setting up a practice library and arranging accommodation for the students. Members of the Primary Health Care Team (PHCT) found that having students in the practice gave them a sense of achievement and enhanced self-worth. Individuals within the practice felt more confident in their professional role and the team ethic within the practice was strengthened. Doctors' anxieties regarding the adequacy of their clinical skills proved unfounded. Patients were reported to feel more included in their care and to have enjoyed hearing their condition being discussed with the students. Students valued the one-to-one teaching, seeing common illnesses and a variety of consulting styles. It is hoped that this paper will be of value to those responsible for recruiting GP practices into undergraduate teaching. It demonstrates benefits for the primary health care team in terms of improved morale and sense of professional self-worth. Patients felt more involved in their care. Generalization from these findings is limited by only one practice having been involved. Undergraduate teaching offers advantages, particularly in terms of professional self-esteem and team morale.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Students, Medical*
  • Wales
  • Workforce