The wind of change: after the European definition--orienting undergraduate medical education towards general practice/family medicine

Eur J Gen Pract. 2007;13(4):248-51. doi: 10.1080/13814780701814986.


Traditionally, medical students are trained in an algorithmic manner, to focus on excluding serious but rare diseases by conceptualizing diagnoses through a process of exclusion based on systematic and technological investigation of an extensive list of potential diagnoses applicable to the patient's presenting symptoms and signs. Students are not often exposed to common diseases, and trivialize all that which cannot be addressed within a strictly medical model. This paper reflects on the recommendations of the EURACT Educational Agenda document, and proposes a return to empiricism in basic medical training by introducing students to primary healthcare, disease, and decision-making processes early in their training. The authors recommend the teaching of communication skills within primary care doctor-patient encounters, the exploration of new ways of teaching the doctor-patient relationship, and that students and young doctors be encouraged to prioritize quality over quantity. Will this stem the current trends towards increasing workload and burnout?

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / trends
  • Europe
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Students, Medical*