Professional perceptions of dermatology teaching: A focus group study

Introduction: International and Australian dermatology teaching at tertiary institutions is considered either inconsistent or inadequate despite its prevalence in primary care. It has been recommended that eLearning be utilised to increase dermatology knowledge among undergraduate medical students and GPs. The purpose of this research was to critique the current undergraduate dermatology curriculum from the perspective of those involved with dermatology presentations: GPs, paediatricians and junior medical officers (JMOs). Insights into the undergraduate curriculum as well as the advantages and disadvantages of eLearning were also gathered in the interviews and focus groups.
Method: A total of 10 interviews and 8 focus groups were conducted with GPs, paediatricians, paediatric registrars and JMOs. All interviews and focus groups were facilitated by a single-investigator. All interviews and focus groups were recorded and transcribed. The transcriptions were analysed thematically using NVivo software.
Results: All doctors believed that at least some dermatology should be taught to undergraduate medical students although the amount and detail differed between individuals. When considering their own dermatology knowledge, GPs felt underprepared when they started their practice; paediatric registrars felt they were expected to know “everything about rashes” when did not feel confident. JMOs and registrars felt particularly ill-equipped to generate differentials and appropriately manage relatively simple conditions. There were some hesitancies towards eLearning as it was felt that context and examination were best achieved in a face-to-face consultation. JMOs and GPs felt that the best online resource would be succinct, presentation based and teach the basics of diagnosis and management.

Dr. Philippa Dickison