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Med Teach. 2002 Nov;24(6):654-7.

Doctors telling stories: the place of anecdote in GP registrar training.

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GP Education Group, General Practice and Primary Care Research Unit, University of Cambridge, Institute of Public Health, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 2SR, UK.


Observational studies within a hospital setting confirm the widespread use of anecdotes in hospital-based medical education and hypothesize a number of reasons for this. Whilst anecdotes may be used effectively in teaching there can be dangers in their inappropriate use. There is no information on the level and nature of the use of anecdotes within medical education in the community. The authors undertook a questionnaire study that asked GP trainers about how they used anecdote in their GP registrar teaching. The results suggested that GP trainers use anecdotes frequently in their registrar teaching, recognize the use of anecdotes described in the literature and have little concern that anecdotes might mislead. The authors discuss how anecdotes may be used to help build registrars' illness scripts, and to develop ways of thinking and working congruent with the existing professional community.

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