Skills that Iowa family physicians desire in a new physician partner

Fam Med. 1997 Oct;29(9):618-24.


Background and objectives: The importance of specific skills in primary care continues to be debated. As a result, there is not consensus on which skills need to be stressed during residency training. Our project asked community-based family physicians to rate the importance of specific skills in a new family physician partner.

Methods: Data were collected through a cross-sectional survey of all active members of the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians. Participants were surveyed by mail, using a list of 83 skills pertinent to primary care. Physicians were asked to rate the importance of a new member of their practice having the individual skills on this list.

Results: A total of 546 family physicians (67%) completed questionnaires. Fourteen skills (seven cognitive and seven psychomotor) were reported to be "essential" or "very important" by at least 80% of the physicians. A total of 43 skills were rated as "essential" or "very important" by at least 50% of responding family physicians. Many of the hospital-based procedural skills, particularly those used in an intensive care setting, were rated as less important. The importance ratings of many skills were associated with the physicians' ages, size of their primary hospitals, and availability of other medical specialties.

Conclusions: Family physicians tended to rate office-based procedural skills, counseling skills, and management skills as "essential or very important" to their practices. These rating might be used to guide residency training in family practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Group Practice
  • Humans
  • Iowa
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires