Family Practice in Turkey:

Views of Family Practice Residents

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Melahat Akdeniz, MD; Hakan Yaman, MD, MS; Yeşim Şenol, MD; Zelal Akbayin, MD; Fatma Gökşin Cihan, MD; Sercan Bulut Çelik, MD; and Turkish Vasco da Gamma, MD

Table of Contents

Postgraduate Medicine:

Volume 123 No. 3


Clinical Features

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DOI: 10.3810/pgm.2011.05.2292
Abstract: Turkey’s family practice training program is aimed at providing further training to clinically proficient family physicians who serve the community. A survey conducted in 2001 revealed that there was a need for providing additional training and more time in a specially dedicated family practice placement for family practitioners. Recent changes in the Turkish health care system have also impacted the training environment of family practice residents. Clearly, training needs to change with time. The aims of this study are to investigate the attitudes of resident family practice physicians regarding their training in the health care system in order to gather their views on the hospital learning environment, and to estimate their burnout levels. For this research, the design included a 1-phase cross-sectional study. This study was undertaken in 2008 in departments of family medicine at universities (n = 21) and training and research hospitals of the Ministry of Health (n = 11). Approximately 250 family practice residents in Turkey were approached. In total, 174 residents participated (70% response rate). The survey instruments included a questionnaire with 25 queries and 2 scales: The Postgraduate Hospital Educational Environment Measure and the Maslach Burnout Questionnaire–Human Services Survey. The average age of the participants was 32.2 years (standard deviation, 4.5 years; range, 24–57 years). The gender distribution was 57.6% women and 42.4% men. Marital status was 34.7% single, 62.9% married, and 2.4% divorced/widowed. In our results, residents affirmed that university hospitals were the best facilities for residency training. Their future plans confirmed that most would like to work in family health centers. This sample showed average levels of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and lack of personal accomplishment. Perceptions of professional autonomy, quality of training, and social support were below average. It may be concluded that certain milestones in the development of family practice in Turkey have been fulfilled. The new regulation for postgraduate training has increased the share of family practice training to 50% (18 months). Establishment of educational family health centers has been planned. Introduction of the formative and summative assessment processes in family practice training is anticipated. It is expected that an assessment such as the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (International) (mRCGP[INT]) examination would be helpful for Turkish residents in reaching these goals.

Keywords: family practice , primary care , internship and residency , health care reform , learning , professional burnout , Turkey