The perceptions of a GP's work among fifth-year medical students in Helsinki, Finland

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2012 Jun;30(2):121-6. doi: 10.3109/02813432.2012.654194. Epub 2012 Feb 19.


Objective: To explore medical students' potential interest in family medicine in the future and their perceptions of a GP's work.

Design: A cross-sectional survey in 2008-2010.

Setting and subjects: Fifth-year medical students prior to their main course in General Practice at the University of Helsinki.

Main outcome measures: The students' opinions regarding the GP's work and their perceptions of the main aims of a GP's work.

Results: 309/359 medical students (mean age 25.7 years, 64% females) responded to the survey. Among the students, 76% considered the most attractive feature in the GP's work to be that it is versatile and challenging. The least attractive features included: too hasty, pressing work, too lonely work, and too many non-medical problems. The majority of the students considered the main aim of a GP's work as to identify serious diseases/disorders in order to refer those patients for specialized care (82%). Treatment of chronic diseases is an important responsibility of a GP's work according to 63% of the students. Only 38% considered health promotion to be an important aim.

Conclusions: Medical students may have perceptions of the GP's work that influence their career choices to specialize in other fields.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Career Choice
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physician's Role
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult