International exchanges in primary care - learning from thy neighbour

Bernadeta Bridgwood*, John Park, Claire Hawcroft, Natasha Kay, Eugene Tang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
252 Downloads (Pure)


This systematic review describes how international exchange programmes in primary care have been received and evaluated. Electronic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, EBM reviews, CAB abstracts and PubMED) were searched to identify articles where the main focus of the study was exchanges undertaken in primary care/family medicine until March 2016. Articles were included if they (i) discussed participant exchanges in primary care; (ii) presented associated outcome data-this included (a) individual/group experience of exchange; (b) mechanism of exchange and (c) observations during the exchange. A narrative synthesis was performed of the heterogeneous data identified. Twenty-nine studies were included. Exchange locations varied across the world with the largest number in Europe. Participants came from a range of backgrounds including medical students, nurses, General Practitioners (GP), GP trainees (GPTs) and visiting scholars/ professors. Exchange duration ranged from 3 days to 2 years. Key themes were identified from analysis of the studies with illustrative quotes from the included studies provided. Four key areas were discussed in relation to exchange experience: learning opportunities and new knowledge; comparative observation; knowledge gained and translational learning. Primary care international exchanges provide a rich source of cross-country learning. This review identified that exchange participants benefit both personally and professionally, equipping them with translatable skills to improve the care provided to their patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbercmx101
Pages (from-to)247-252
Number of pages6
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number3
Early online date14 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2018


  • Academic medicine
  • Access to healthcare
  • Continuing medical education
  • Family health
  • Immigrant health
  • International health
  • Primary


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