What are the current ‘top five’ perceived educational needs of Irish general practitioners?

Abstract

Introduction

Doctors’ continuing medical educational and professional development (CME and CPD) needs are known to be strongly influenced by national and local contextual characteristics. A crucial step in the development of effective education and training programmes is the assessment of learner needs.

Methods

A national needs assessment was conducted among general practitioners (GPs) in the Republic of Ireland who attended continuing medical education small group learning meetings (CME-SGL) in late 2017. Doctors completed a self-administered anonymous three-page questionnaire which gathered demographic data and asked them to choose their ‘top five’ perceived educational needs from separate lists of topics for CME and CPD.

Results

There were 1669 responses (98% of monthly attendance). The topics most commonly identified as a priority for further CME were prescribing (updates/therapeutics), elderly medicine, management of common chronic conditions, dermatology, and patient safety/medical error. The most commonly selected CPD topics were applying evidence-based guidelines to practice, appraising performance/conducting practice audits, coping with change, and managing risk and legal medicine. There was no difference between urban and rural practice settings regarding the most commonly chosen topics in each category; however, more rural GPs selected pre-hospital/emergency care as one of their ‘top five’.

Conclusion

Our findings identified priority areas where CME and CPD for GPs in Ireland should focus. The topics selected may reflect the changing nature of general practice, which increasingly requires delivery of care to an ageing population with more multi-morbidity and chronic disease management, while trying to apply evidence-based medicine and consider patient safety issues. CME/CPD programmes need to adapt accordingly.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Davis D (1998) Does CME work? An analysis of the effect of educational activities on physician performance or health care outcomes. Int J Psychiatry Med 28(1):21–39

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Peck C, McCall M, McLaren B, Rotem T (2000) Continuing medical education and continuing professional development: international comparisons. BMJ 320(7232):432–435

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Holm HA (1998) Quality issues in continuing medical education. Br Med J 316(7131):621–624

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Hayes SF (2005) Where next with revalidation?: make CME and CPD compulsory with support of audit and mentoring. BMJ 331(7512):352

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Lake J (2009) Doctors in difficulty and revalidation: where next for the medical profession? Med Educ 43(7):611–612

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    MacWalter G, McKay J, Bowie P (2016) Utilisation of internet resources for continuing professional development: a cross-sectional survey of general practitioners in Scotland. BMC Med Educ 16:24

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Davis N, Davis D, Bloch R (2008) Continuing medical education: AMEE education guide no 35. Med Teach 30:652–666

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Fox RD, Bennett NL (1998) Continuing medical education: learning and change: implications for continuing medical education. BMJ 316(7129):466–468

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    HOFFBRAND BI (2001) The effectiveness of continuing professional development. Postgrad Med J 77(910):551

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Grant J (2002) Learning needs assessment: assessing the need. BMJ 324(7330):156–159

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Curran V, Hatcher L, Kirby F (2000) CME needs of rural physicians: how do we compare to our urban colleagues? Can J Rural Med 5(3):131

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Allan JA, Schaefer D (2005) Do the learning needs of rural and urban general practitioners differ? Aust J Rural Health 13(6):337–342

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Curran VR, Keegan D, Parsons W, Rideout G (2007) A comparative analysis of the perceived continuing medical education needs of a cohort of rural and urban Canadian family physicians. Can J Rural Med 12(3):161–166

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Maher B, O'Neill R, Faruqui A, Bergin C, Horgan M, Bennett D, et al. (2018) Survey of Irish general practitioners’ preferences for continuing professional development. Educ Prim Care 29(1):13–21

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    O'Kelly M TC, O'Kelly F, Ni Shuilleabhain A, O'Dowd T (2016) Structure of General PRactice in Ireland 1982-2015. https://www.icgp.ie/mwg-internal/de5fs23hu73ds/progress?id=m85KNhXbcbXMF_OLjfV7qvUN_0-tCPOtkh_wbQIrMJI,&dl

  16. 16.

    Dowling S, Last J, Finnigan H, Cullen W (2018) Continuing education for general practitioners working in rural practice: a review of the literature. Educ Prim Care 29(3):151–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Gabhainn SN, Murphy AW, Kelleher C (2001) A national general practice census: characteristics of rural general practices. Fam Pract 18(6):622–626

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Bourke J, Roper S (2012) In with the new: the determinants of prescribing innovation by general practitioners in Ireland. Eur J Health Econ 13(4):393–407

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Informatics IIfH (2012) The global use of medicines: outlook through 2016. IMS Health, Informatics IIfH, Danbury

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Hunt LM, Kreiner M, Brody H (2012) The changing face of chronic illness management in primary care: a qualitative study of underlying influences and unintended outcomes. Ann Fam Med 10(5):452–460

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Gurwitz JH (2004) Polypharmacy: a new paradigm for quality drug therapy in the elderly? Arch Intern Med 164(18):1957–1959

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Moynihan R, Glasziou P, Woloshin S, Schwartz L, Santa J, Godlee F (2013) Winding back the harms of too much medicine. BMJ 346:f1271

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Kjaer NK, Steenstrup AP, Pedersen LB, Halling A (2014) Continuous professional development for GPs: experience from Denmark. Postgrad Med J 90(1065):383–387

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Department of Health and Children (DOHC) (2008) Tackling chronic disease: a policy framework for the management of chronic diseases. http://hdl.handle.net/10147/45895

  25. 25.

    Behan W, Molony D, Beamer C, Cullen W (2013) Are Irish adult general practice consultation rates as low as official records suggest? A cross sectional study at six general practices. Ir Med J 106(10):297–299

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Dennis SM, Zwar N, Griffiths R, Roland M, Hasan I, Powell Davies G et al (2008) Chronic disease management in primary care: from evidence to policy. Med J Aust 188(8 Suppl):S53–S56

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Holbrook A, Thabane L, Keshavjee K, Dolovich L, Bernstein B, Chan D, Troyan S, Foster G, Gerstein H, for the COMPETE II Investigators (2009) Individualized electronic decision support and reminders to improve diabetes care in the community: COMPETE II randomized trial. Cmaj 181(1–2):37–44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Kjaer NK, Vedsted M, Hopner J (2017) A new comprehensive model for continuous professional development. Eur J Gen Pract 23(1):20–26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Onder G, Palmer K, Navickas R, Jureviciene E, Mammarella F, Strandzheva M et al (2015) Time to face the challenge of multimorbidity. A European perspective from the joint action on chronic diseases and promoting healthy ageing across the life cycle (JA-CHRODIS). Eur J Intern Med 26(3):157–159

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Lopez DG, Hamdorf JM, Ward AM, Emery J (2006) Early trauma management skills in Australian general practitioners. ANZ J Surg 76(10):894–897

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Kaufman DM (2003) Applying educational theory in practice. BMJ 326(7382):213–216

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Dent AW, Weiland TJ, Paltridge D (2008) Australasian emergency physicians: a learning and educational needs analysis. Part four: CPD topics desired by emergency physicians. Emerg Med Australas 20(3):260–266

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Medical Council (2011) Professional competence guidelines for doctors. Medical Council. http://hdl.handle.net/10147/233637

Download references

Funding

This study was funded by ICGP Career Support Grant.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephanie Dowling.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Dr. Stephanie Dowling received a research grant from the ICGP called the ICGP Career Support Grant. No other funds were received by any of the authors for this study. There is no conflict of interest in this study.

Ethical approval

ICGP Ethical approval was received for this study. GPs were questioned only and no procedures were performed for this study. (All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.)

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dowling, S., Last, J., Finnegan, H. et al. What are the current ‘top five’ perceived educational needs of Irish general practitioners?. Ir J Med Sci 189, 381–388 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-019-02047-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Continuing medical education
  • Continuing professional development
  • Education needs
  • General practice