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Open Access Research article

Residents' views about family medicine specialty education in Turkey

Arzu Uzuner1*, Pinar Topsever2, Ilhami Unluoglu3, Ayse Caylan4, Nezih Dagdeviren4, Yesim Uncu5, Mumtaz Mazıcıoğlu6, Alis Ozçakır5, Hakan Ozdemir5 and Fusun Ersoy7

Author Affiliations

1 Family Medicine Department, Marmara University Medical School, Altunizade, Istanbul, Turkey

2 Family Medicine Department, Acıbadem University Medical School, Kozyatağı, Istanbul, Turkey

3 Family Medicine Department, Eskişehir Osmangazi University Medical School, Eskişehir, Turkey

4 Family Medicine Department, Trakya University Medical School, Edirne, Turkey

5 Family Medicine Department, Uludağ University Medical School, Bursa, Turkey

6 Family Medicine Department, Erciyes University Medical School, Kayseri, Turkey

7 Ministry of Health, General Directorate of Primary Health Care Systems, Family Medicine Department Ankara, Turkey

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:29  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-29

Published: 15 April 2010



Residents are one of the key stakeholders of specialty training. The Turkish Board of Family Medicine wanted to pursue a realistic and structured approach in the design of the specialty training programme. This approach required the development of a needs-based core curriculum built on evidence obtained from residents about their needs for specialty training and their needs in the current infrastructure. The aim of this study was to obtain evidence on residents' opinions and views about Family Medicine specialty training.


This is a descriptive, cross-sectional study. The board prepared a questionnaire to investigate residents' views about some aspects of the education programme such as duration and content, to assess the residents' learning needs as well as their need for a training infrastructure. The questionnaire was distributed to the Family Medicine Departments (n = 27) and to the coordinators of Family Medicine residency programmes in state hospitals (n = 11) by e-mail and by personal contact.


A total of 191 questionnaires were returned. The female/male ratio was 58.6%/41.4%. Nine state hospitals and 10 university departments participated in the study. The response rate was 29%. Forty-five percent of the participants proposed over three years for the residency duration with either extensions of the standard rotation periods in pediatrics and internal medicine or reductions in general surgery. Residents expressed the need for extra rotations (dermatology 61.8%; otolaryngology 58.6%; radiology 52.4%). Fifty-nine percent of the residents deemed a rotation in a private primary care centre necessary, 62.8% in a state primary care centre with a proposed median duration of three months. Forty-seven percent of the participants advocated subspecialties for Family Medicine, especially geriatrics. The residents were open to new educational methods such as debates, training with models, workshops and e-learning. Participation in courses and congresses was considered necessary. The presence of a department office and the clinical competency of the educators were more favored by state residents.


This study gave the Board the chance to determine the needs of the residents that had not been taken into consideration sufficiently before. The length and the content of the programme will be revised according to the needs of the residents.