The needs and preferences of general practitioners regarding their continuous professional development: a Free State perspective
Botes, Petrus Johannes
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The Health Professions Council of South Africa requires all Health Practitioners to complete accredited learning opportunities, and provide proof thereof, for the purpose of updating their knowledge and acquire new skills. Continuing Professional Development is the chosen model, which has a goal of holistic development of practitioners. The Department of Family Medicine, University of the Free State, provides such opportunities through Refresher Courses, which covers common fields of interest over a period of three years. The goal of this study was to find reasons and possible solutions for the perceived lack of interest in these Refresher Course learning opportunities and to determine how the Department of Family Medicine could adapt their education strategy to meet the needs of General Practitioners. A cross-sectional study design was chosen, by which a questionnaire was posted to randomly chosen participant in the Free State Province. The needs and preferences of General Practitioners regarding their continuous development were queried and factors influencing their usage of learning opportunities were assessed. The study revealed that General Practitioners still prefer a lecture form of presentation in large or small groups. They prefer the current format to continue, but find it difficult to leave their practices unattended. There is a slight movement towards training opportunities on computer. Thus, although the current format should not change, the Department of Family Medicine should consider strategies to accommodate those who find it difficult to attend.