Background and objective
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, some universities suspended student placements in general practice. The aim of this study was to explore the views of general practitioners (GPs) teaching in clinical practice (‘GP teachers’).
Semi-structured interviews were held with 15 GP teachers in southeast Queensland from June to August 2020.
Challenges included lack of masks and space, and concerns about infection control, medico-legal liability and student learning. Telehealth created more time for reflection and accessing information, increased student access to sensitive consultations, and provided opportunities to think-through rather than rote-do physical examinations. Students could be an extra pair of hands, also accessing and implementing the latest public health advice. GP teachers wanted clear communication and guidance from universities and for students to be trained in infection control and telehealth skills.
Findings suggest that many GP teachers can be supported to continue clinical placements during an evolving crisis. The pandemic presented many challenges for general practice but also new opportunities for students to learn and contribute in practice