Advance directive completion rates remain poor in the ambulatory setting. The purpose of this study was to explore and contrast staff provider and resident physicians' experiences with advance care planning (ACP) and to identify barriers to this process in the primary care setting. A 17-item survey was administered to staff primary care providers and categorical internal medicine residents. Staff providers were more likely to discuss ACP after prompting from patients' family members (P < .02) or after a change in health status (P < .02) and were more likely to believe that non-physician members of the care team should counsel patients about ACP. The majority of respondents cited system-based barriers as major obstacles to ACP. Strategies aimed at systematizing the ACP process for both patients and providers are needed.