How can we inspire the next generation of GPs? The positive impact of the learning environment on role-modelling and vocation towards careers in Primary Care.
The perception of careers in Primary Care amongst medical students is varied and affects their future choice of career, in addition the future of General Practice in the UK is reliant on the recruitment of sufficient numbers of high quality trainees.We present an exploration of the views of undergraduate medical students on careers in Primary Care after experiencing a simulated teaching and learning experience at the Royal College of General Practice, London.
The study aimed to evaluate the impact of placement at a simulated general practice on the student’s vocation and perceptions of Primary Care.The use of whole setting high fidelity simulation in medical education has recognised benefits. Its use for undergraduate teaching in a Primary Care setting is a novel approach to the use of simulation. Students mid-way through their course experienced a simulated Primary Care placement. Data was collected from both focus groups and online surveys; thematic analysis was performed as well as analysis of the semi-quantitative data. Ethical approval was obtained from the KCL Biomedical and Dental School Research Ethics Committee.
Students found that the experience reflected positively on a career in Primary Care. The Student self-reported likelihood of choosing GP as a career, when asked specifically to comment with reference to this placement was 4.6/10 at the beginning of the year, rising to 5.7/10 at the end of the year (P<0.001). The simulated teaching, and the learning environment encouraged students to approach learning in a more ‘professional’ way. Students identified that both the the learning environment and the role-modelling of their GP tutors contributed to this change.Students reported that their perception of the life and activities of a GP were changed positively by the experience, leading to statistically significant increase in vocation towards Primary Care as a career. They perceived the happiness of their GP tutors as high compared to doctors they met in hospital placements. Both the vocational role-modelling and happiness role-modelling were sited as factors encouraging students to consider a career in Primary Care.Other identified benefits of the simulated environment included improved learning efficacy via increased perceived safety, consistency and alignment of teaching to curriculum material. In addition, this intervention allowed increased numbers of student placements.
A simulated GP placement in a professional learning environment confers multiple benefits both with regards to student learning, and also to increase vocations towards a career in GP. This intervention can help to address the need for a high quality future generation of GPs in the UK.