General Population and Medical Student Perceptions of Good and Bad Doctors in Mozambique

CONTEXT:

A key element of the doctor-patient relationship is to understand the patient's and doctor's perceptions of quality care.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the perceptions of good and bad doctors among first-year medical students and local community members in a semi-urban, African settings.

METHODS:

Using open-ended and closed dichotomous questions, 115 first-year medical students in Beira, Mozambique were surveyed regarding their perceptions of a 'good' and 'bad' doctor. Students then surveyed 611 community members in a predominately poor, semi-urban neighbourhood.

RESULTS:

Answers to open-ended questions provided by both groups produced the same four most important positive characteristics, with good diagnostic and therapeutic skills and dedication ranked highest. Closed-ended questions revealed that local community members felt that being concerned/considerate and diagnosing well were equally important (19.5% and 17.5%, respectively) compared to students (17.5% and 41.2%, respectively). The most important negative characteristics to the open-ended question for both groups were discrimination and contemptuous behaviour: 29.3% for community members and 27.4% for medical students. The biggest difference between groups was poor attending skills: 17.3% by community members and 3.9% by medical students.

CONCLUSION:

This study highlights differences and similarities between the perceptions of medical students and community members concerning a 'good' and a 'bad' doctor. Our data suggest that perceptions are guided by the experiences and values of those interviewed. Results indicate that medical education in developing countries should focus on patient-centered care, including communication skills and attitudes, besides training knowledgeable doctors.

Reference: 
A. Pfeiffer, B.H. Noden, Z.A. Walker, R. Aarts, J. Ferro | 2011
In: Education for Health, ISSN 1469-5804 | 24 | 1 | 387
http://educationforhealth.net/article.asp?issn=1357-6283%3Byear%3D2011%3Bvolume%3D24%3Bissue%3D1%3Bspage%3D387%3Bepage%3D387%3Baulast%3DPfeiffer