Objective To evaluate participants' perceptions of the impact on them of an additional six months' training beyond the standard 12 month general practice vocational training scheme. Design Qualitative study using focus groups. Setting General practice vocational training in Northern Ireland. Participants 13 general practitioner registrars, six of whom participated in the additional six months' training, and four trainers involved in the additional six months' training. Main outcome measures: Participants' views about their experiences in 18 month and 12 month courses. Results Participants reported that the 12 month course was generally positive but was too pressurised and focused on examinations, and also that it had a negative impact on self care. The nature of the learning and assessment was reported to have left participants feeling averse to further continuing education and lacking in confidence. In contrast, the extended six month component was reported to have restimulated learning by focusing more on patient care and promoting self directed learning. It developed confidence, promoted teamwork, and gave experience of two practice contexts, and was reported as valuable by both ex-registrars and trainers. However, both the 12 and 18 month courses left participants feeling underprepared for practice management and self care. Conclusions 12 months' training in general practice does not provide doctors with the necessary competencies and confidence to enter independent practice. The extended period was reported to promote greater professional development, critical evaluation skills, and orientation to lifelong learning but does not fill all the gaps.
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Sibbett, C., Thompson, W. T., Crawford, M., & McKnight, A. (2003). Evaluation of extended training for general practice in Northern Ireland: qualitative study. BMJ, 327(7421)(7421), 971-973. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7421.971