Little is known about where family physicians learn procedural skills. In this study, we examine where Canadian family medicine graduates learned to do the procedures they perform.
In 2001, a cross-sectional postal survey was conducted of the 369 family medicine graduates from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary between 1996 - 2000. From a list of 31 procedures, respondents identified procedures regularly performed over the past 2 years and indicated which procedures they had stopped performing. Respondents indicated whether the procedures performed were learned primarily during medical school and residency, through formal skills training following residency, or in the practice setting.
The 282 (76.4% response rate) respondents reported performing a mean of 10.5 (SD=5.3) procedures. The vast majority reported learning procedural skills in medical school or during family medicine residency training (91.1%), followed by the clinical practice setting (12.6%), then formal skills training (6.4%). Those in rural practice learned a relatively greater proportion of procedural skills through formal skills training.
For Canadian family physicians, procedural skill acquisition occurs across the learning continuum. Medical schools and residency training programs play a role in facilitating the learning of procedural skills and supporting self-directed learning.