Objective: To examine the perceptions and expectations about Family Practice (FP) and Primary Care (PC) in 1st, 3rd and 5th year students in medical schools. Design: An observational study in two cross sections with intervals of two years. Location: Spanish Medical Schools. Participants: 1st, 3rd and 5th year students of 22 schools (1st phase) and 15 (second phase). Primary measurements: Self-report questionnaires completed during the first quarter of the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 academic years. It had 70 items in three blocks: perceptions of FP (19 items), training in FP (26 items), expectations and preferences (25 items), plus 13 specific items for 3rd and 5th year students. Most of the items were answered in a 6 point Likert scale. Results: A total of 5299 responses in phase I, and 3869 in phase II were received. Students perceive FP and PC as essential areas of the health system and professional practice, but with little scientific and technical appeal. The large majortiy, 87%, consider training in FP necessary and compulsory, and it should start in third year. They prefer hospital medical specialities (88-89%), followed by surgical and paediatrics. FP is preferred by the 37-39%. Only between 24% and 28% of students have a clear preference for a specialty when they start medical studies. Conclusions: FP and PC are key areas and should be part of the curriculum, but are perceived to be of low scientific appeal.
- Family medicine