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You kind of want to fix it don’t you? Exploring general practice trainees’ experiences of managing patients with medically unexplained symptoms

Howman, Mary, Walters, Kate, Rosenthal, Joe, Ajjawi, Rola and Buszewicz, Marta 2016, You kind of want to fix it don’t you? Exploring general practice trainees’ experiences of managing patients with medically unexplained symptoms, BMC medical education, vol. 16, Article Number : 27, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.1186/s12909-015-0523-y.

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Title You kind of want to fix it don’t you? Exploring general practice trainees’ experiences of managing patients with medically unexplained symptoms
Author(s) Howman, Mary
Walters, Kate
Rosenthal, Joe
Ajjawi, RolaORCID iD for Ajjawi, Rola orcid.org/0000-0003-0651-3870
Buszewicz, Marta
Journal name BMC medical education
Volume number 16
Season Article Number : 27
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016-12
ISSN 1472-6920
Keyword(s) Medically unexplained symptoms
Somatisation
Medical Education
General practice
Mixed methods research
Summary Background
Much of a General Practitioner’s (GP) workload consists of managing patients with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). GP trainees are often taking responsibility for looking after people with MUS for the first time and so are well placed to reflect on this and the preparation they have had for it; their views have not been documented in detail in the literature. This study aimed to explore GP trainees’ clinical and educational experiences of managing people presenting with MUS.
Method
A mixed methods approach was adopted. All trainees from four London GP vocational training schemes were invited to take part in a questionnaire and in-depth semi-structured interviews. The questionnaire explored educational and clinical experiences and attitudes towards MUS using Likert scales and free text responses. The interviews explored the origins of these views and experiences in more detail and documented ideas about optimising training about MUS. Interviews were analysed using the framework analysis approach.


Results

Eighty questionnaires out of 120 (67 %) were returned and a purposive sample of 15 trainees interviewed. Results suggested most trainees struggled to manage the uncertainty inherent in MUS consultations, feeling they often over-investigated or referred for their own reassurance. They described difficulty in broaching possible psychological aspects and/or providing appropriate explanations to patients for their symptoms. They thought that more preparation was needed throughout their training. Some had more positive experiences and found such consultations rewarding, usually after several consultations and developing a relationship with the patient.
Conclusion
Managing MUS is a common problem for GP trainees and results in a disproportionate amount of anxiety, frustration and uncertainty. Their training needs to better reflect their clinical experience to prepare them for managing such scenarios, which should also improve patient care.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s12909-015-0523-y
Field of Research 130209 Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy
130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
Socio Economic Objective 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, BioMed Central
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30081453

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.