Department of general practice and primary health care

YLE: ingressikuva

The Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care conducts close operations with the primary health care unit and the health care centres of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, as well as the Vaasa Hospital District in basic education. Our central goal is to develop and support primary health care through education and research. We provide education in the field in both Finnish and Swedish:

  • Basic education for students of medicine
  • Courses, supervision and support for physicians completing specific training in general medical practice
  • Supervision and support for specialising physicians completing their service in primary health care
  • Specialist education for physicians specialising in general practice
  • Postgraduate research education for those completing their dissertation
  • Continuing and multi-professional education for those working in primary health care

The Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care is responsible for organising Finnish and Swedish-language education in general practice. The basic education courses provide students with an overview of the central duties of primary health care and the treatment practices of various disorders in the health care centres of the Uusimaa region.

Courses in general practice and primary health care include the first study period in primary health care (spring term in the first year of studies), the second study period in primary health care (autumn term of the second year), the third study period in primary health care (third and fourth years) and the course on general medical practice during the fifth year of studies (both autumn and spring terms).

After completing the programme, students have an opportunity to complete specific training in general medical practice or specialist education organised by the Department.

Travel compensation

As a rule, actual travelling expenses accrued by travelling to the health care centres where students are completing their basic education will be reimbursed against receipts from public transport. Travel compensation can be paid for trips outside the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in accordance with the collective agreement concerning compensation for travelling expenses. Expense reports and receipts must be submitted to the clinical instructor of the Department.

Mileage allowance can be paid if there are no fewer than three people travelling in the car. Grounds for using a car instead of public transport must be given in the expense report.

NB! In the event students intend to apply for mileage allowance, an agreement with the head of department must be reached in advance.

First study period in primary health care (375060), 1 cr

Teaching is organised during the spring term for first-year students. After completing the course, students will

  • Be familiar with various ways of working as a physician and understand the status of patients at a physician’s practice
  • Identify and control emotions occurring in the doctor–patient relationship
  • Have strengthened their professional identity with early patient contacts
  • Understand the significance of ethics in the work of a physician
  • Be familiar with the various operations of a health care centre

Course content:

  • Introductory seminar
  • Health care centre visits (4), during which students will familiarise themselves with the work of a general practitioner
  • Experience journal
  • Feedback seminar

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.
Coordinating teachers: Clinical Instructor Liisa Kuikka and Professor Kaisu Pitkälä

 

Second study period in primary health care (MED-22), 2 cr

Course description on the Courses website (opens in a new tab)

 

Third study period in primary health care (MED-314), 1 cr

The course will be organised within the dyspnea and chest pain block for third- and fourth-year students of the Finnish-language study track. Objectives:

  • Students will be able to independently interview and examine patients, as well as fill out electronic patient records at the health care centre.
  • Students will be familiar with the prevention and treatment of the most common public health diseases.
  • Students will understand how important educating patients, drafting a treatment plan and getting patients committed to their treatment are to the effectiveness of treatment.

The course for students of the Finnish-language study track includes:

  • “How are people?” seminar on Mondays
  • “Lessons from the practice” seminar on Fridays
  • A practice held at a health care centre under the supervision of a teaching physician
  • Familiarisation with the electronic patient record system and structured patient records

A more detailed schedule will be available on Oodi and Moodle before the beginning of the course. Coordinating teachers: Clinical instructor Helena Karppinen and Professor Kaisu Pitkälä

 

General practice and primary health care (MED-53), 6 cr

Course description on the Courses website (opens in a new tab)

Basics on patients (375716), 2.5–5 cr
Students will practise the symptom-based examination and treatment of patients and learn to look for reliable information to support their decisions. During the course, students spend a day at a health care centre examining patients with their supervising physician. In the skills lab, students try out their manual skills, and in the seminars, students will give prepared presentations. Second-year students will have fifth-year students and specialising physicians as their supervisors. Coordinating teacher: Clinical instructor Helena Karppinen

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.

Oral health as part of general health (375707)

The significance of oral hygiene in systemic diseases will be studied. Visits to a day care centre and an assisted living facility for the elderly (Organised in cooperation with the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases)

Coordinating teacher: Clinical instructor Liisa Kuikka

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.

Fiction and movies (375705) 2.5 cr, available from first to sixth year of studies
Coordinating teachers: Clinical instructor Lena Sjöberg and Professor Kaisu Pitkälä

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.
 
Fiction and authors (375704) 2.5 op
Coordinating teachers: Clinical instructor Lena Sjöberg and Professor Kaisu Pitkälä

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.

Fiction for medical students (in Swedish) (30486) 2.5 cr
Coordinating teacher: Clinical instructor Lena Sjöberg

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.
 
My first summer in a health care centre (375750) 2.5 cr
Coordinating teachers: Clinical instructor Lena Sjöberg and Professor Johan Eriksson

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.
 
Interprofessional collaboration in social and health care (375745) 2.5–5 cr, available in the fifth year of studies
Coordinating teachers: Professor Johan Eriksson, Clinical instructor Lena Sjöberg, as well as Professor Ilse Julkunen and researcher-social worker/doctoral student Frida Westerback from the Department of Social Research at the Faculty of Social Sciences

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.
 
Strengthening life by innovations of micro-change teams in home care of older people (373563) 2.5 cr, available from first to sixth year of studies
With inspiration provided by Esa Saarinen, the philosopher, students will observe the treatment and wellbeing of elderly people in home care organised by the city of Helsinki. In addition, they will form teams and innovate practices/technologies/treatment that improve the everyday life of elderly people. Coordinating teachers: Professors Kaisu Pitkälä, Esa Saarinen (Aalto University) and Harriet Finne-Soveri (National Institute for Health and Welfare and the Home Care Services Unit of Helsinki)

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.

Managing multi-professional teams in social and health care (375759) 2.5 cr, available in the fifth year of studies
Case discussions will be practised through role play in a multi-professional team of students, whereas the group work examines the expertise and management of other occupational groups. Teaching is organised in cooperation with the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences DIAK, while the development of the course in its current condensed form continues. Participants include students of nursing and public health nursing, as well as students of social services and church community work. Coordinating teachers: Clinical instructor Helena Karppinen and DIAK lecturer Eija Kattainen

Detailed information and dates are available on Oodi and Moodle.

Specialist training in all specialisations includes a service period of nine months at a health care centre. During the period, specialising physicians will familiarise themselves with the operational areas of the centre in a comprehensive manner in order to have the required knowledge of activities conducted in primary health care and its functions when treating patients in their own field. The discipline of general practice will verify completed health care centre service periods and give a notification of approval if the specialising physician has been granted the right to pursue specialist education and has completed the health care centre service in its entirety after 31 July 2011.

The health care centre service period will be completed in a centre approved by faculties of medicine or disciplines of general practice, in addition to which they must fulfil the quality criteria defined in training agreements. The disciplines of general practice in each faculty draft their own training agreements in their area of responsibility. Training health care centres (in Finnish only) approved by the University of Helsinki and equivalent health care centres (in Finnish only) for the rest of Finland.

To be approved, training units must meet the following criteria:

  • A training coordinator has been appointed for the health care centre, or its chief physician acts in this role.
  • The chief physician or training coordinator of the health care centre will appoint a personal supervisor for each specialising physician completing their training in the employment of a municipality or joint municipal board.
  • Sufficient time for supervision has been reserved in the rules of procedure.
  • The health care centre has ensured sufficient expertise in the cooperation between the public health care responsibilities of the municipality and its primary health care, specialist care and social services.
  • The central duties of primary health care are included in the work carried out at a health care centre.
  • Each year, no less than 100 hours of in-service training must be organised at the health care centre, some of which must be multi-professional in nature. Those completing their service period must have an opportunity to participate in this training.
  • Specialising physicians must be provided with an opportunity to participate in training organised outside the unit for no less than one day in a month.
  • Specialising physicians are provided a log book.

The criteria above apply to those specialising physicians whose right to study was granted after 31 July 2011, and to those health care centre service periods that began after 31 July 2011. Approving a health care centre service period as completed requires a right to complete either specialist education or specific training in general medical practice. Decisions on the approval of service periods completed before a right to study was granted are made by the coordinating professor in general practice on a case-to-case basis.

The objectives and content of the service are described in the log book. The versatile nature of the service must be realised in nine months. Physicians must familiarise themselves with no less than four operational areas of a health care centre, such as consultation by appointment (no less than three months), the activities of child health clinics and maternity clinics, home nursing, mental health work, the activities of old people’s homes and assisted living facilities, emergency services, and inpatient wards. No more than three months of completed emergency and inpatient ward duties will be accepted. Service content and criteria fulfilment will be assessed with the help of a training certificate provided by the supervisor.

In order to get the health care centre service period approved as studies completed in the specialist education programme, an application form with service or work certificates attached must be submitted. They must include a section for interruptions/absences and related explanations, even if there is no need for these. Applicants must also have given feedback electronically on all health care centre service periods that lasted three months or longer after their completion. The email verifications received after submitting the feedback forms must be attached to the certificate application.

Specialising physicians who have been granted the right to pursue a specialist degree in medicine and who have completed all of their health care centre service after 31 July 2011 must apply for the right to incorporate their service into the specialist degree immediately after the service is completed. The application and related attachments must be sent to the Faculty of Medicine. Decisions on the approval of health care centre service periods are made by the discipline of general practice. Applicants will be sent a notification to the email address included in the application. No certificate will be granted for approved health care centre service periods.

The duration of specific training in general medical practice is two years, of which no less than nine months must be completed at a health care centre and six months at a hospital. Three years of service is required of those who have completed their medical degree abroad. In addition, no more than six months of service at another training unit approved by the Faculty can be incorporated into the training. Specific training in general medical practice includes 16 hours of compulsory training in administration and social security.

Those completing the specific training in general medical practice will work as independent physicians under a personal supervisor. After completing the training, they will have the right to pursue the profession of a general practitioner within the social security system as an independently licensed professional in other EU countries as well.

The content of the health care centre service period (no less than nine months) included in the specific training in general medical practice is equivalent to the period included in the specialist education programmes. In the event the right to study was granted after 30 August 2010, those completing the specific training in general medical practice must be employed by a municipality or joint municipal board. The discipline of general practice is responsible for approving completed service periods.

The log book for the specific training in general medical practice with related forms is available in the section “Health care centre service period included in specialist education” of this document.

Further information on the specific training in general medical practice is available on here.

Training in administration and social security

Specific training in general medical practice includes 16 hours of course-based training in the administration of health care services and the social security system. This module consists of a Moodle-based online study section (8 hours) and one day of contact teaching (8 hours). To receive a certificate of attendance, students must actively participate in both parts of the course, in addition to which they must fill out an online feedback form after its completion. No certificates will be granted for completing only either the contact teaching day or the online studies. Using Moodle requires that each participant has a valid University username, password and email address already at the time of registration. Further information on University of Helsinki access rights is available on the Helpdesk website.

NB!
The theoretical training (16 hours) mentioned above included in the specific training in general medical practice cannot be incorporated into specialist education, which requires completing 20 hours of administrative training. These studies can, however, be accepted as part of the training for immediate superiors, included in specialist education at the University of Helsinki since 1 August 2009.

The 16-hour administration and social security training completed in events organised by the faculties of medicine of other universities can also be incorporated into the specific training in general medical practice.

Upcoming administrative and social security training (in Finnish only)

Further information on the training is provided by Education Planning Officer Maija Hartikainen at maija.hartikainen@hus.fi.

With 50 different specialisations in medicine, general practice is by far the largest of them all. One fifth of all Finnish specialists of working age are specialised in general practice. General practice as a specialisation:

  • Versatile clinical knowhow, an approach centred on patients and the population, and an operational environment in primary health care are typical characteristics of the field.
  • Specialists in general practice are physicians to individuals, families and communities.
  • They are personal physicians to their patients and work in cooperation with other health care professionals.
  • Specialists in general practice coordinate patients’ paths in service networks.
  • The long-term doctor–patient relationships of general practitioners are typically diverse: physicians take everything into consideration, from the patients’ physical, mental, social and cultural needs to fundamental questions of existence.
  • Specialists in general practice have comprehensive expertise.
  • The expertise of specialists in general practice includes familiarity with the population, its health and living environments, as well as the promotion of health and preventive work.
  • They also participate in developing operations and the operational environment.

Completing the education

  • The duration of the programme is six years. The programme includes working as a physician both in primary health care and clinical specialisations, theoretical course-based training, in-service training, personal supervision and training for immediate superiors.
  • Thematic training (in Finnish only) organised by the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care of the University of Helsinki
  • General information on specialist education at the University of Helsinki
  • Course catalogues, as well as other instructions and standing regulations are available on the Guide
  • Portfolio for the specialist training in general practice (requires University access rights).

Postgraduate research education

The goal of postgraduate research education is a Doctor of Medical Science or Doctor of Philosophy degree. The objective of the studies is to familiarise postgraduate students with the general problems and methods of scientific research and health care/medical research.

The workload required for a doctoral degree is equivalent to three to four years of full-time work. Dissertations are either article-based or monographs. Further information on dissertations

Education

The Doctor of Medical Science degree is comprised of general education,special training and a dissertation. The scope of general education required for doctoral degrees in medical science and dental science is 10–20 credits, while the scope of specific training is 20–30 credits, or altogether 40 credits in addition to the dissertation. The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires 60 credits worth of theoretical training and a dissertation. (Due to the Big Wheel education reform, the scope of theoretical studies is 40 credits beginning in the autumn term of 2017.)

All doctoral students belong to a doctoral programme, and they have the right to register for courses arranged by their home department and the Faculty of Medicine. Courses offered by other faculties of the University of Helsinki or other institutions of higher education can also be incorporated into the degree.

Applying

Masters/Licentiates of Health Sciences, Licentiates of Medicine and those with another second-cycle degree can apply for the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care. The application procedure begins by contacting the supervisors. Further information on applying for postgraduate studies.

Head of Department

Professor Kaisu Pitkälä
kaisu.pitkala@helsinki.fi
Doctor of Medical Science, specialist in general practice, geriatrics and internal medicine, professor of general practice and primary health care

Address

The Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care is located in the third and fourth floors of the Biomedicum Helsinki 2 B building at the Meilahti Campus of the University of Helsinki.

Street address
Tukholmankatu 8 B
00290 Helsinki

Postal address
Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care
PO Box 20
00014 University of Helsinki

Tel: +358 294 1911 (switchboard)
Fax: +358 2941 27536 (eFax)