General practice trainees face practice ownership with fear

Elizabeth Sturgiss, Emily Haesler, Katrina Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives The aim of the present secondary analysis of data collected in a grounded theory study was to explore the perceptions of Registrars and new Fellows to practice ownership and management. Methods Focus groups and interviews with Registrars and recent Fellows were undertaken to explore the desire to become an owner, facilitators and barriers to practice ownership and delivery models for practice ownership education. A secondary thematic analysis was conducted to understand emerging concepts related to perceptions of general practice ownership. Results A surprisingly strong theme of fear was evident across focus group and interview participants. Expressed fear was specifically related to financial concerns, lack of relevant knowledge and skills and concern over balancing different roles. Moderating factors included previous life and educational experiences, as well as role modelling. Conclusions Graduation of a cohort of new general practitioners (GPs) who express fear towards practice ownership is concerning. Creating more positive learning environments and opportunity for open discussion regarding practice management and ownership is an important step in providing adequate support for new GPs to give serious consideration to career options. What is known about the topic? The traditional model of general practice ownership has been for a doctor to own and/or manage the practice. Fewer new GPs are taking on the role of owning a general practice, and disinterest has been presumed to play a significant role in this trend. It has been reported that current curricula provide insufficient focus on providing learning opportunities for general practice trainees on ownership and management models; however, recent research has shown that general practice trainees have a strong interest in receiving this knowledge during their training. What does this paper add? The present qualitative research evaluated the emotional response that general practice trainees (Registrars) expressed when they considered practice ownership. GP Registrars expressed fear when asked about the prospect of owning their own practice. This may be influenced by the role modelling they receive during their training. What are the implications for practitioners? Supervisors involved in general practice training should ensure their trainees have the opportunity to learn about practice ownership during their training. Supervisors should also be aware that their own behaviour and attitudes towards practice ownership is observed by their trainees and it can colour the emotional response the trainee has when considering owning a practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-666
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • mentorship
  • post-vocational education.

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