“Using findings from our research to improve residency training means that we can improve healthcare for female patients and ensure our future physicians are well equipped with knowledge and skills to uphold this standard."
Examining trends in women's health-related clinical teaching experiences of family medicine residents between 2010 and 2021
Over the last several years, there has been an increase in interest in women's health. A great deal of medical knowledge is based on male patients, especially for things like symptoms of heart problems. It is very important for all doctors to know about issues related to women's health. This is even more important for family doctors because they are the ones who are most likely to have contact with patients. Family doctors must be aware of women's health issues so that they can provide the best possible care to all patients. In this project, we wanted to look at the way family medicine doctors learn about women's health issues.
After students graduate from medical school, they must do more training to become specific kinds of doctors. This training is called "residency" and the students become "residents". The residents work with doctors to learn more about taking care of patients. The doctors who teach the residents also give the residents feedback about how they are doing. Some of this feedback gets written down on forms called field notes. Each field note also has information about the kind of patient or problem that the resident saw. There are thousands of field notes that we can use for research. All of the names have been removed from these field notes to protect privacy.
We looked at field notes from the last 10 years to see what women's health topics are taught to residents. We had three research questions:
1) Are there trends over time in the content and amount of teaching about women's health?
2) Have there been new topics in women's health that have shown up in the last five years?
3) Do male and female residents get the same amount of teaching about women's health topics?
The goal of this project is to determine the women's health topics that residents learn about. We also want to know if the amount and type of women's health topics have changed in the past 10 years. This project will have multiple benefits. The research conducted will highlight important women's health topics that have emerged recently. It will also allow us to understand trends and gaps in the teaching of women's health to family medicine residents. The information regarding the clinical experiences of residents in women's health topics and any targets for improvement will be provided to the residency program.
Zoë Brody was supervised by Shelley Ross and her summer studentship was funded by the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation. She is enrolled in the Doctor of Medicine program.