Medical students in general practice: how do patients feel?
Cooke F., Galasko G., Ramrakha V., Richards D., Rose A., Watkins J.
BACKGROUND: The General Medical Council has recommended that medical students should gain more experience in general practice. AIM: The study set out to determine patients' reactions to the presence of medical students in general practice consultations. METHOD: Patients attending a random sample of general practice surgeries completed a questionnaire following consultation with and without a medical student present in six general practices in the Oxford area. RESULTS: The questionnaires were completed by 278 patients. Only eight (3%) of all respondents had negative responses to the presence of a medical student. Of those completing questionnaires following a teaching consultation, 107 (56%) felt positively about the presence of students, compared with 36 (41%) who had attended a nonteaching surgery. Only three patients (1%) felt the quality of the consultation to be impaired by the presence of a student, while 48 patients (17%) felt there to be some improvement. The majority felt that the sex of the student was unimportant, but significantly more female than male patients (17% versus 5%) felt that it made a difference. CONCLUSION: Only a small proportion of patients object to the presence of a medical student in general practice consultations. A significant minority said that the presence of a student improves the consultation.