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Title: Perceptions of Malaysian medical students from different academic years on primary care: a qualitative research
Authors: Chan, Sook Ching
Ganeson, Jaya Vinoshairine
Ong, Jee Tat
Sugathan, Sandheep
Keywords: Medical students' perceptions
Primary health care
Qualitative research
Issue Date: Mar-2020
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Citation: Chan, S. C., Ganeson, J. V., Ong, J. T., & Sugathan, S. (2020). Perceptions of Malaysian medical students from different academic years on primary care: a qualitative research. Family Medicine and Community Health, 8(1), e000188.
Abstract: Objective: To explore the perception of medical students from a private medical college in Perak, Malaysia, on primary care practice and induce the factors influencing their perception and willingness to consider primary care as a career pathway. Design: Qualitative study using focus group discussions. Participants’ responses were audio recorded, transcribed, grouped under various domains and listed out and analysed. Setting: A private medical college in Perak state, Malaysia. Participants Forty-six medical students from years 2 to 5 were included. Eight focus groups were formed with two focus groups from each academic year (six students each in seven groups and four students in one group). Students were informed through their respective student leader of each year and received a participant information sheet and an informed consent form which were completed and returned if they decided to participate in the focus group discussions. Results: The participants had different levels of understanding of primary care depending on their level of exposure to primary care. Senior students with more exposure had a better understanding about primary care and its services. Attractive factors towards choosing primary care as a career included short working hours with a more balanced family and social life, being able to treat patients as a whole with continuity of care and closer relationship with patients. Unattractive factors included routine, unchallenging and boring practice, poor salary, work overload and administrative work in government clinics, being less recognised by other specialties; and the poor perception by other doctors that those pursuing primary care were not ‘brilliant enough’ for more ‘sophisticated disciplines like surgery or paediatrics’. Conclusion: This study showed that the medical students’ level of exposure to primary care played a crucial role in determining their understanding of primary care practice and their choice of career in primary care. Issues to be addressed include remuneration, workload and the prejudice against primary care as a career pathway. Suggestions included introducing early exposure to fun and challenging primary care postings in the medical curriculum and producing well trained, skilled and enthusiastic role models.
ISSN: 23056983
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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