Skills in National Core Curriculum: National Survey of General Practitioners in Turkey

Özlem Coşkun, Yavuz Selim Kıyak, Işıl İrem Budakoğlu, Dilek Öztaş, Özgür Erdem

Keywords: general practice, core curriculum, national survey, practical skills

Views and competency levels of general practitioners (GPs) are essential in the way of developing undergraduate medical curriculum. There is no nationwide study conducted to understand what GPs think about practical skills in National Core Curriculum for Undergraduate Medical Education (NCC) in Turkey.

Research questions:
1. What are GPs’ views on the minimum level of competency required in a GP about skills listed in the NCC?
2. What skills do GPs feel most and least competent?
3. Is there any difference between newly graduated and experienced GPs’ competency levels?

This is a cross-sectional study carried out between 01/10/2017 and 01/09/2018. 27652 primary care physicians who work in Turkey were surveyed about the 136 skills listed in NCC. The participants rated the minimum required competency level for every skill on 0–4 level and stated whether they felt themselves competent in these skills. Descriptive statistics and Chi-Squared Test were performed.

4117 (14.9%) participants answered.

The most selected category was:
• “Level3—Should be able to do the skill in cases which are frequent and not complex” for 123 (90.4%) skills,
• “Level2—Should be able to do the skill according to the guidelines in a state of emergency” for 10 (8.1%) skills,
• “Level4—Should be able to do the skill even in complex cases” for 3 (2.2%) skills.

The skills that are felt most competent were:
• Taking blood pressure (85.2%)
• Hand washing (84.0%)
• Writing a prescription (83.0%)

The least competent were:
• Pericardiocentesis (11.6%)
• Pleural puncture (13.5%)
• Lumbar puncture (16.4%)

For 47 skills, the percentage of the 0-5 years’ graduates who did not feel competent is significantly lower than 5+ years’ graduates.

Self-perceived competency levels vary among skills but surgical procedures constitute the weakest part. GPs are more incompetent in the skills that they rarely perform, therefore they need continuing education.

Points for discussion:
What continuing medical education methods could be used to keep GPs fresh in terms of the skills that are rarely performed?