Assessing Primary Care Trainee Comfort in the Diagnosis and Management of Thermal Injuries

J Burn Care Res. 2017 Jul/Aug;38(4):e739-e744. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0000000000000477.


Thermal injuries are common and the majority will initially present to primary care physicians. Despite being a part of the objectives of training in family medicine (FM) and emergency medicine (EM), previous study has shown that in practice, gaps exist in the delivery of care. An electronic survey was sent to all FM/EM trainees at our university for the 2014 to 2015 academic year. Plastic Surgery trainees were included as a control group. Demographics and educational/clinical experience were assessed. Trainee comfort was measured on a five-point Likert scale across 15 domains related to thermal injuries. Preferences for educational interventions were also ranked. Descriptive statistics and the Kruskal-Wallis test were used (P < .05 considered significant). The survey response rate was 27.4% (117/427). FM and EM (CCFP and Royal College) trainees estimated a median 0, 1, and 2 hours of total didactic instruction, respectively. During that academic year, FM and EM (CCFP and Royal College) trainees cared for a median 1, 4, and 5 patients, respectively. Significant differences were noted in comfort levels across all 15 domains when compared with plastic surgery trainees. Preferences for educational interventions were ranked, with clinical rotations and traditional lecture scoring the highest. Primary care trainees are not comfortable in the diagnosis and management of thermal injuries. This may be attributed to limited clinical exposure and teaching during their postgraduate training. There exists an opportunity for specialists in burn care to collaborate with primary care training programs and deliver an educational intervention with the aim of long-lasting quality improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burns / diagnosis*
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires