FAMILY MEDICINE IN UNDERGRADUATE MEDICAL CURRICULUM: A COST-EFFECTIVE APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE IN PAKISTAN

Authors

  • Saima P. Iqbal

Abstract

Background: Shifa College of Medicine introduced a two-week rotation in Family Medicine for theirthird-year medical students in 2008. The purpose of this study was to determine what impact it made onstudents and how many would consider becoming Family Physicians in future. Methods: Aquestionnaire–based prospective study conducted at Shifa College of Medicine, Islamabad duringacademic year 2008. Results: A total of 46 students rotated in Family Medicine throughout theacademic year-2008. Fifteen students were aware of Family Medicine as a specialty prior to startingtheir rotation, and only 3 expressed an interest to pursue Family Medicine as a future career. At the startof the rotation only 15 students were able to give correct definition of Family Medicine and onquestioning whether it should be a part of the undergraduate curriculum, only 24 answered yes whilethe rest were unsure. After the rotation, a significant number of students (37%; p<0.01) consideredhaving a career in Family Practice, and 80% (n=37) were able to give correct definition of FamilyMedicine as a humanistic approach of medicine with aim to prevent, treat and rehabilitate. About itsutility in the undergraduate curriculum, 44 (96%) students believed it should be a regular feature in theircurriculum, while 30 (65%) students agreed that their outlook towards patient care had changed. Whenasked what they learnt most during the rotation, students quoted empathy and development ofcommunication skills. Conclusion: Family medicine rotation as part of undergraduate medicalcurriculum may help in fostering an interest among medical students in this newly emergingsubspecialty which could have a profound effect on delivery of quality health care in this country.Keywords: Undergraduate medical curriculum, Family Medicine, health care, medical education.

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Published

2010-12-01