“General Medicine Day – From Practice to Practice”

On May 19, “General Medicine Day” is celebrated around the world. The focus is on the professional group of general practitioners and their central function as interdisciplinary experts and hub of the health system. The requirements and profile of the position, but also the challenges have changed considerably in recent years. In medical studies at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz, students do an internship in a general practice in the first semester.

General medicine as an intensive subject with its own chair is an important pillar of medical studies at JKU. The Institute of General Medicine, under the direction of Prof.in Dr.in Erika Zelko, forms the bridge between clinical scientific medicine and outpatient general medicine. To inspire medical students at an early stage of the profession of family medicine and to show the diversity and possibilities of this specialty is the goal and the task of the more than 100 lecturers who teach the range of the subject theoretically and practically.

“JKU has created a medical faculty for the 21st century, and this is also reflected in teaching,” says JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas. “We teach in a tangible, practice-oriented and modern way: from digital anatomy in the JKU medSPACE to hands-on teaching in the skills labs to the many on-site opportunities to learn from the best in the practices. Care-oriented, holistic medicine is therefore essential for the general practitioners of tomorrow to receive extensive training,” says Rector Lukas.

General Medicine Clerkship Scholarship

During the 2022-2024 performance period, the medical school will also focus on general medicine. There will be a grant for internships in general practitioner practices.

“We are aware that as a medical school we also have a social responsibility. The care provided by qualified general practitioners is the foundation of our health system”, explains Elgin Drda, vice-rector for medicine at the JKU.

“With a new grant of 400 euros for a four-week internship in general medicine, we want to interest trainees in general medicine very early in their studies”, explains vice-rector Drda.

General medicine in the 21st century

General practitioners with interdisciplinary training are essential as the first point of contact and hub for the quality of medical care in Upper Austria. But above all for demographic reasons, general medicine will face challenges in the coming years: The number of contract doctors (including second ordination) in Upper Austria is currently 1,033 doctors (as of April 27, 2022). Among them, 440 belong to the “Baby Boomer Generation” (1946-1964) 440 who will have reached the age of 60 and over in 2025. The first half of the “Generation X” (1965-1973) includes 293 doctors who will reach retirement age in the years 2025 to 2033. In the next 10 years, this means a 79% drop in care in the private sector.

“We would like to use the time window between 2025 and 2030 to ensure the transfer of knowledge between generations of doctors”, explains Univ-Prof.in Dr.in Erika Zelko.

“Through long-term teaching and research, we want to find answers to the challenges of tomorrow and raise evidence-based general medicine to the level of specialists. We set up training that places patients and their families at the center of regional care. 175 lessons per semester, we train future general practitioners in the best possible way,” says Professor Zelko.

The common goal is this: general practitioners should provide their patients in Upper Austria with modern, safe and high-quality services.

From practice: Dr. Johanna Holzhaider, family physician at the Sandl group practice

In 2006, general practitioner Johanna Holzhaider took over a practice in Sandl which was run as a single health insurance fund. In 2014, she decided to work with her former colleague, Dr. Hedwig Eichler, in the form of a job-sharing group practice. The job-sharing model is strictly regulated by a roster. The two doctors work together on Monday mornings, which leaves more time for longer discussions with the patients and for the exchange between the two doctors and their team. The other ordination times are divided.

“I have never felt my independence as a burden, but as a continuous and dynamic process with the corresponding creative freedom and many freedoms to make decisions such as planning, division of labor and patient frequency”, says Dr. Holzhaider. “I appreciate the family friendliness due to the flexible consultation hours, especially since the installation of the HÄND (general emergency service), which has considerably reduced the load of the night services. The continuity of care allows us to ‘live together ‘ with our patients.”

The working day usually begins with blood tests and patients with acute problems, then a block of time is reserved for discussion of results, examinations and therapies for non-infectious patients and towards the end of the ordination , infectious patients are programmed. After the regular surgery, the doctors take turns to drive the non-mobile patients. Time slots for telephone calls and acute situations must also be planned.

“Bringing all of this together every day is the daily challenge of a firm. Apart from the medical challenges, this logistical task is also satisfying,” says Dr. Holzhaider.

In practice: Edith Eicher, medical student at JKU

Edith Eicher is in her 8th semester of medical school at JKU Medical School.

“My ideas on the job profile are extremely varied, because general practitioners are needed in a wide variety of fields. Whether in a private practice in a medical practice, in spas or in schools, I think that many many doors are open to general practitioners. I find the long-standing relationship particularly inspiring for patients and therefore the opportunity to deal very intensively with patients and their environment – medically, socially and psychologically,” says Edith Eicher .

When it comes to studying medicine at JKU, Edith Eicher appreciates that students have the opportunity to learn from and exchange ideas with general practitioners early and throughout their studies on a regular basis. in the “Medical Skills and Skills” course. In addition, it is possible to participate in the “Summer School General Medicine” during the holidays, where students get an insight into the work of a general practitioner through visits to the doctor’s office, lectures and discussions. Another positive point to mention is that the teachers are always open to suggestions for improvement and extensions, which are gathered through regular evaluations and contribute to the quality of teaching.

“Certainly, the insight into practice in the form of clinical placements or the summer school and showing the various possibilities after completing the training is a good way to interest students in the subject of general medicine. Plus, reports from younger family physicians of more regular direct contact with general practice patients are opportunities to educate students on the subject,” says Eicher.

Focus on General Medicine in Medical Studies at JKU

The JKU has concluded 75 teacher ordination contracts with general practitioners in Upper Austria. There, students can experience firsthand the tasks and activities of an ordination. During the first two weeks of the first semester, students do a compulsory internship in a general practice. As part of the compulsory internship, students can study and work in a general medical practice for up to four weeks. Additionally, additional clinical placements of 4 weeks (a total of 8 weeks) can be completed as free courses.

From the winter semester 2022, there will be a scholarship at JKU for trainees in general medicine. The student receives a one-time scholarship of 400 euros from JKU.

During the clinical practice year (KPJ) there is a special fundraising campaign by the Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK) and the Upper Austrian Medical Association (ÄKOÖ). For example, the mandatory four-week internship in a general medicine teaching practice is supported by a “pocket money” of 650 euros per month. An additional eight weeks can be completed as a free elective during the KPJ year. At least four weeks of this is also rewarded with a “pocket money” of 650 euros per month.

Since 2016/17, JKU Faculty of Medicine has awarded 446 degrees (371 Bachelor, 74 Master, 1 PhD).

Statements on the day of general medicine

“General Medicine Day aims to put the performance of general practitioners in front of the curtain. It also aims to show how training and the professional profile are changing positively in general medicine. As a state, we get involved wherever we can: The primary care models in the regions are particularly attractive for young doctors. teaching practice. Through the teaching practice and the clinical practice year, the students of the medical faculty of the JKU get to know the profession of family medicine directly on site, the intensive contact with general medicine is firmly anchored in the curriculum, ”says LH MP and Minister of Health Mag .a Christine Haberlander.

“The establishment of the chair of general medicine was and remains an important step in the right direction. It is important that students come into contact with the general practitioner profession at an early stage, this also applies to the year It is important that the course is structured in such a way that general medicine is the basis of the training, however it is also necessary that the teaching has sufficient resources available to provide practical training. We hope that more future Colleagues will find their way into practice as general practitioners. This would be a very important element for basic medical care”, emphasizes Dr. Peter Niedermoser, President of the Medical Association of Haute- Austria.

Mag.a Sonja Raus
T +43 732 2468 3008
M +43 664 60 2468 299

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