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Can Fam Physician. 2008 Apr;54(4):570-1, 571.e1-6.

Patients' perceptions and experiences of family medicine residents in the office.

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Division of Dermatology, University of Toronto, M1-700, Sunnybrook Hospital, 2075 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5.



To examine patients' perceptions and experiences of having family medicine residents in the office.


Descriptive survey; questionnaire completed by patients.


Outpatient office of 4 family physicians in the greater Vancouver area, affiliated with the Department of Family Medicine at the University of British Columbia.


A total of 265 English-speaking adult patients attending the office.


Patients' self-reported perceptions and experiences of having family medicine residents in the office.


Response rate was 94.7% (251 of 265 patients completed the questionnaire). Although 81% of respondents had seen residents in the office, 59% did not understand a resident's training or thought residents were medical students. The 3 main reasons participants gave for choosing to have residents involved in their care were the following: to contribute to training future doctors (61.8%); to obtain 2 opinions instead of 1 (20%); and residents are most up-to-date (11.2%). The most common reasons for choosing not to see residents were the following: to continue relationships with their own doctors (54.2%); to avoid the need to repeat history (18.6%); and the perception that residents are less experienced (16.9%). Having a resident involved in their care was perceived as a positive experience by 95.5% of respondents who had seen residents. Overall satisfaction with care and overall comfort in dealing with residents were ranked good to excellent by 91.8% and 90.8% of respondents, respectively. About 71% of patients said they would choose to have residents involved in their care.


Respondents reported very positive experiences with having family medicine residents in the office. Overall comfort and satisfaction with seeing family medicine residents was reported to be extremely high, and most patients surveyed would choose to have family medicine residents involved in their care. Patients needed to know more about the resident's level of training and the role of residents in patient-resident interactions.

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