New strategies are needed to encourage general practitioners to teach medical students in their practices, according to a letter published in this year's General Practice edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.
Dr Mary-Louise Dick, Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland, and her co-authors interviewed 55 Brisbane-based GPs who teach third-year University of Queensland medical students.
"Many of the GPs said the rewards of teaching included the opportunity to showcase high-quality medical practice, the intellectual stimulation of having their practice observed and an appreciation that patients benefited from the participation of students in consultations," Dr Dick said.
"Challenges cited included ensuring teaching responsibilities did not lead to longer waiting times for patients or interfere with their care.
"Other problems included concerns about potential negative impacts on patients of inappropriate or inexpert student comments or skills and the extra demands of supervising relatively weak or apparently unenthusiastic students."
"The difficulties of recruitment and retention of high-quality teaching practices in the current climate of general practice workforce shortage and increased medical student numbers are likely to increase, unless practice-based teaching remains manageable and rewarding," she said.
"Strategies to promote and enhance the rewards of practice-based teaching, and overcome perceived obstacles including a lack of practice infrastructure, will be needed."