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Med Educ. 1998 Sep;32(5):495-501.

Providing early clinical experience in primary care.

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Division of General Practice, School of Community Health Sciences, Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK.


Undergraduate courses in British medical schools are changing following recommendations from the General Medical Council. Increasing emphasis has been placed on teaching in the community. Nottingham Medical School has pioneered the teaching of basic clinical skills in primary care during the pre-clinical course to help produce an integrated curriculum. This qualitative study evaluated the first two years of the new early clinical experience course at Nottingham by using interviews with 19 students and their GP tutors. Students claimed to have gained confidence in talking to patients, their understanding of the role of the doctor and the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. Students were less confident about examining patients and some reported having had little opportunity to practice examination skills. Half the students thought that the early clinical visits had helped them to understand and be more motivated to learn their basic medical sciences course. The newly recruited GP teachers were highly motivated, very positive about the early clinical teaching and all wanted to continue to teach the pre-clinical students. Difficulties in providing the course included communication with students and staff, organization of student travel and variation in the quality of teaching. However, the Nottingham early clinical experience course has shown that basic clinical skills can be successfully taught to pre-clinical students in primary care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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