Measuring community-oriented attitudes towards medical practice
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BACKGROUND: The measurement of attitude and attitudinal changes regarding community-oriented primary care (COPC) and the community-oriented principles of family medicine from the College of Family Physicians of Canada was a key component of this study involving family medicine residents. The Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Toronto Hospital initiated a new COPC curriculum in July 1997 for its first-year residents which was designed to teach the principles of family medicine which are community oriented. OBJECTIVE: This study was developed to provide an analysis and summary of the attitude and attitudinal changes of residents exposed to the programme and those of two cohort groups who were not exposed. METHODS: A quasi-experimental design was used. A 20-item questionnaire was administered pre- and post-intervention. Qualitative data were also collected from focus group sessions with the residents exposed to the programme. RESULTS: The questionnaire was found to have good reliability, with an alpha coefficient of 0.8. No significant differences were observed between the study and control groups pre- and post-intervention. Within the study group, two items from the questionnaire yielded significant differences (P < 0.05). These items dealt with lack of funding and impracticality issues of applying COPC in medical practice. They were also the prevalent themes generated from the focus group session analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The qualitative data corroborated the findings of the survey. These findings have helped in the evolution of the curriculum. Longitudinal studies to measure attitudes and the practice of COPC and community-oriented principles of family medicine after residency are recommended.
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