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Impact of a Residency Family Systems Curriculum on the Postresidency Practice of Family Physicians.

Family Medicine 2023 September 13
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Training residents in family systems and family-oriented care holds the potential to increase empathy for patients and to grow self-awareness of how one's own family of origin affects clinical practice. Little has been studied about how training residents in family systems affects their clinical practice after they graduate residency.

METHODS: We surveyed all the residency graduates (N=60) who completed the longitudinal family systems curriculum during their third year of residency, from 2016 to 2021. The former residents were emailed a survey and asked to respond to Likert-scale and qualitative questions regarding the effects of the family systems curriculum on their clinical practice.

RESULTS: Thirty-five graduates (58.3%) returned completed surveys. Overall, 26 of 35 (74.3%) respondents felt that the family systems curriculum had helped them a fair amount or a great deal in the care of their patients. In particular, 29 of 35 (82.9%) felt that the curriculum helped them a fair amount or a great deal in maintaining empathy. Compared to other longitudinal courses, 32 of 35 (91.4%) respondents indicated that they liked the curriculum somewhat or a great deal.  Conclusions: More than half the respondents found all elements of the curriculum helpful in their clinical practice, especially in the areas of caring for patients and maintaining empathy. The responses will be used as a baseline for comparison to improve the training. Continued research, perhaps in the form of randomized controlled trials using several residencies, could help in developing elements for more standardized curriculum in family-oriented care training.

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