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Educ Prim Care. 2010 Jul;21(4):243-7.

The benefits of educational release of hospital-based general practice specialist training registrars into general practice.

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  • 1Office of Medical Specialist Training, Region of Southern Denmark, Otterup, Denmark.


In Denmark, specialist training for family medicine consists of 2.5 years training in general practice and 2.5 years training in specific hospital departments. The hospital training programme contains mandatory release time (return days) whereby GP trainees leave their hospitals in order to work with patients in their teaching GP surgeries for one day every month. The goals are to develop and maintain a family medicine perspective during the hospital training and to maintain contact with the family medicine environment. In order to explore the benefits of going back to general practice for one day per month during hospital training, we carried out a qualitative study comprising three focus group interviews with trainees and one focus group with trainers. Return days are important for the development of a professional identity and they can ensure the provision of a useful/necessary breathing space in a turbulent education. If properly organised, return days have the potential to strengthen professional competences due to a stronger focus on the family medicine perspective during training. The process strengthens transferability of skills. A focus on better educational management is needed. Trainers' commitment and trainees' ownership of and responsibility for the educational process are prerequisites for success.

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