[Consultation skills training as an element of general practice training in Germany - a qualitative survey].Z Evid Fortbild Qual Gesundhwes. 2016 Nov; 117:57-64.ZE
The consultation is at the heart of general practice. It is the central setting through which primary care is delivered. The competency requirements are laid down internationally by competency-based curricula for undergraduate and postgraduate education. So far, there is no competency-based vocational training to develop consultation skills in general practice in Germany. The study describes experiences with consultation skills training as an element of general practice training as reported by trainees and trainers in Germany.
A qualitative and exploring approach was chosen because there is little experience with the German situation. We conducted structured focus group interviews with trainees and trainers, respectively. We recruited all participants by e-mail via the mail distributor "Junge Allgemeinmedizin Deutschland" (JADE, a trainee and junior GP organization) and the academic teachers of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. Altogether, four focus group interviews with three to five participants were conducted, varying in length from 25 to 65minutes. All interviews were recorded digitally and transcribed verbatim. Then a qualitative content analysis was performed.
The statements of the ten trainees and five trainers mapped a system of four main categories: (a) association with the term consultation, (b) parts of a consultation, (c) competencies required for professional practice, (d) consultation skills training as an element of vocational training. Overall, all participants regarded the consultation as the most important element in general practice. Important content of consultations is to build a relationship with the patient, gather information, conduct physical examinations and achieve informed consent on further proceedings. All participants agreed that physicians need different sets of competencies: medical expertise, communication skills, examination skills and professionalism. Finally, there was a broad consensus that a competency-based general practice training to support the development of consultation skills is lacking in Germany. The majority acknowledged the need for change.
So far, the consultation skills development within the general practice training in Germany is regarded as deficient. Both trainees and trainers have stressed the importance of change in vocational training. With the new competency-based curriculum for general practice in Germany and the associated development of supporting tools important prerequisites have been provided.