Objective: In some parts of Germany there is already a lack of general practitioners (GPs). The reasons for this lack are complex. On the one hand there is an increasing demand for GPs as a result to demographic changes and an increase in the number of chronic diseases. On the other hand fewer medical students decide to become a general practitioner. The aim of this study was to explore, from the perspective of GPs, factors influencing the choice of general practice as a career. Also analysed is the extent to which those factors influence medical students in their carrier choice.
Methods: 16 GPs were interviewed. Qualitative content analysis according to Mayring has been assisted by the Atlas.ti software program.
Results: GPs thought that the occupational orientation of medical students would be strongly dependent on the attractiveness of their future profession. Factors affecting the day-to-day work of general practice and may deterring the carrier choice of students were: poor working and general conditions leading to an increasing dissatisfaction among GPs; decreasing prestige of GPs caused by changed personal and occupational values and attitudes within the society; as well as poor representation and image of general practice as a discipline within the medical curriculum.
Conclusion: Various approaches aimed at different target groups can be derived from these identified factors: the government providing general and occupational conditions that would relieve GPs of excessive bureaucracy; universities and medical associations meeting the challenge by improving undergraduate and postgraduate education in general practice; and GPs themselves giving a more self-confident presentation of general practice.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart * New York.