Table 2

Quotes from medical students according to themes and year of study

Year of studyTheme/quotes by medical students
Year 2Knowledge of primary care (setting, services)
  • Unsure about primary care. First time hearing about this terminology’.

  • ‘Primary care is our own house services like first aid, ambulance services and self treatment’

  • ‘First place to go if we are sick and want to get a treatment’

  • ‘Private clinics and government clinics—this is the place we can easily be consulted by a doctor before visiting a specialist for further information’

Year 3
  • Primary care is mostly established in the hospital and district health office which educate on preventive measures and carry out campaigns to create health awareness’.

  • ‘Public education like campaign by providing pamphlets. Counselling from doctors and law enforcement on water supply and food hygiene issues’.

Year 4
  • ‘Primary care is the first line which provides services to patient in the clinics’

  • It is like consultant is giving advices, making diagnosis, carrying out necessary lab test and monitoring progression of disease and refer patient to hospital

Year 5
  • ‘Primary care is a field where we see patients as a whole. Not only do we treat the patients’ current disease but also the co-morbidities related to patient lifestyles.’

  • ‘Generally, it is divided into two which is public and private sector. In public sector, we have health care clinics—in private sector, we have GP (general practice) clinics’

Year 2Perception of primary care (attractive factors, uninviting factors of being a primary care practitioner, ideas to make it more attractive)
  • Working hours—office hours from 8 to 5pm, therefore I can spend time with my family and not worrying having on calls. I can gain knowledge daily because I am seeing different types of patients.’

Year 3
  • ‘It is a relaxing job because we are not dealing with critical situation’

  • ‘It’s very hard to make primary care an interesting posting. All I can think of is maybe changing the lecturer’s way of educating medical students.’

Year 4
  • ’They need to know a wide range of diseases and symptoms before they diagnose a patient. They need to have an excellent array of medical knowledge and they don’t have on call. In other words, their working hours is quite flexible’.

  • ‘Building up trust with patient, less working hours therefore they can spend their time well with family members. They have to be knowledgeable since they need to tackle different types of diseases.’

Year 5
  • I find it very interesting. For example: the working hours of it starts from 8am to 5pm, I will be able to spend my time with my interest. Secondly, is because continuity of care—I will be seeing the same patient from young to old age’,

  • ‘Mainly because I will be able to treat patient as a whole. For example, when a patient comes in with epigastric pain, instead of making a straight forward diagnosis like acute gastroenteritis, I will think from different medical aspects. I will be able to master the skills of ruling out other differential diagnosis.’

  • ‘Bad perception among doctors. They think that a doctor only pursues primary care because they are not brilliant enough to study any other more ‘sophisticated’ discipline like surgery or paediatrics’.