Building year 1 medical student relationships in primary care clinical placements
Historically teaching hospitals have been the main centre for teaching medical students in a clinical environment. However, recently the focus for medical education has shifted to the primary care setting. The new medical programme at University of Wollongong introduces year 1 students to early primary care clinical exposure allowing students to establish relationships with both their General Practitioner (GP) preceptors and patients within the practice. The aim of this project was to explore the relationships of the year 1 student and the preceptors in their primary care clinical placements. Data was collected using both quantitative data from closed ended questions and qualitative data from open ended in a post-clinical placement survey. Quantitative results from the survey showed that 69% of students and 96% preceptors reported that taking a patient history was a very important aspect of the placement, with 80% of students and 96% of GP preceptors reporting that communicating together about the patient’s history was also very important. Qualitative results from the student survey outlined that interacting with and observing their preceptors in a real life setting as well as interaction with patients was an important element of the placements. The impact of this relationship determined whether a medical student found a placement enjoyable or challenging. These results are supported by previous literature demonstrating that building relationships is an important experience for both student and preceptor, particularly when relationships with patients are further enhanced by preceptors encouraging students to reflect on patient encounters.