Against Shortage of Junior Staff and Prejudices - Presentation and Reflection of a Medical Program with a Focus on General Medicine

Tim Peters, Bettina Leeuw, Lea-Mareen Höft, Julia Sternal, Christiane Muth

Keywords: curriculum, general practice, medical education, longitudinal


General Practice often has a difficult standing among medical students, which may be one of the reasons contributing to the lack of general practitioners across different countries. Studies suggest that this is partly related to the inadequate implementation of General Practice in medical curricula. At Bielefeld University, a new program in medicine started in 2021 – with a particular focus on General Practice.
Research Question: How is it possible to organize teaching General Practice longitudinally throughout the whole curriculum and how is this accepted by students?


General Practice is taught in each of the 12 organ- and topic-specific modules over the semesters 1-10. In addition, there are four internship phases and two phases of continuous contact (for 2.5 years) with a specific patient. A digital platform is used to coordinate different formats. Finally, General Practice is also taught in Science Literacy modules; examples are evidence-based medicine or conducting systematic reviews on General Practice topics.


With a total of 272 teaching units (45 minutes each), General Practice is the subject with the highest amount of teaching units in the curriculum. The evaluation of the first practical phases (n=102, scale 1-10) shows that the students felt very comfortable in the first two internships in general practices (Mean Value (MV) = 9.2, standard deviation (sd) = 1.6), and they consider practice assignments as a very good experience (MV = 8.7, sd = 1.8). Evaluation data are currently collected for the first four semesters and will be presented at the congress.


Implementation to date has shown that it is possible to teach General Practice longitudinally in the first four semesters. First evaluations show that the teaching formats were positively assessed by the students. The teaching of Scientific Literacy may also help to raise interest in General Practice and reduce prejudices.

Points for discussion:

Will it really improve medical students' attitudes toward general practice by the end of medical school?

Can it be implemented also in very large student cohorts?

Should other outpatient disciplines be integrated?


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