The educational value of medical student placements in Urgent Primary Care settings: a literature review
In the UK, community-based Urgent Care Centres (UCCs) offer unscheduled assessment by GPs and/or nurse practitioners for patients with acute illness but not requiring the Emergency Department, who cannot wait for a routine GP appointment. Offering medical undergraduates the opportunity to develop their experience in managing acute illness within UCCs may be of great educational value. Placements could support the promotion of General Practice, as increasing student GP exposure has been shown to influence career choices. However, the benefits of placements within this setting are unclear. Therefore, we conducted a narrative systematic review to determine the utility of undergraduate clinical placements in community UCCs.
The ASSIA, BEI, CINAHL, Embase, Medline and PsychInfo databases were searched for citations relating to undergraduate medical education in UCCs. Eligible studies in English included undergraduate students, were set in Urgent Care, and related to medical education.
Having excluded duplicates, we identified 1567 citations. We reviewed nine full texts and extracted data from one study which met selection criteria, excluding eight with postgraduate populations or hospital settings. Our review identified a survey reporting out-of-hours GP teaching to take place at around half of UK medical schools, which at one school provided useful student experiences.
Undergraduate medical training in UCCs offers unique experience for students and could improve their expertise in managing acute illness, but there is a paucity of research into such education within a primary care setting. Investigating the utility of such placements and the translation into GP careers is warranted.