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Fam Med. 2017 Sep;49(8):607-617.

Scope of Practice Among Recent Family Medicine Residency Graduates.

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Department of Family Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University.



The scope of practice among primary care providers varies, and studies have shown that family physicians' scope may be shrinking. We studied the scope of practice among graduates of residencies associated with Preparing the Personal Physician for Practice (P4) and how length of training and individualized education innovations may influence scope.


We surveyed graduates 18 months after residency between 2008 and 2014. The survey measured self-reported practice characteristics, scope of practice and career satisfaction. We assessed scope using individual practice components (25 clinical activities, 30 procedures) and a scaled score (P4-SOP) that measured breadth of practice scope. We conducted subgroup analyses according to exposure to innovations over the project period and exposure to specific innovations.


No significant differences were found in mean P4-SOP scores between the Pre and Full P4 groups. Compared to national data, P4 graduates reported higher rates for vaginal deliveries (19.3% vs 9.2%), adult inpatient care (48.5% vs 33.7%) and nursing home care (25.4 vs 11.7%) in practice. Graduates exposed to innovations that lengthened training, compared to standard training length, were more likely to include adult hospital care (58.2% vs 38.5%, P=0.002), adult ICU care (30.6% vs 19.2%, P=0.047) and newborn resuscitation (25.6% vs 14%, P=0.028) in their practice and performed 19/30 procedures at higher rates. Graduates of programs with individualized training innovations reported no significant differences in scope compared to graduates without this innovation.


Graduates of residencies engaged in significant educational redesign report a broad scope of practice. Innovations around the length of training may broaden scope and individualized education appears not to constrict scope.

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