Objective: Although knowledge of occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) is important for effective primary health care practice, few studies have examined physicians' appraisals of training in OEM. We evaluated family medicine residents' perceptions of a 4-week rotation in OEM that combined lectures, worksite visits, and clinical placements.
Methods: Qualitative analysis of residents' rotation evaluations (n = 208) collected between 2002 and 2008. Subjective appraisals were compared with quantitative changes in resident knowledge of OEM measured by pre- and posttests.
Results: Residents' perceptions of the usefulness of the OEM rotation were grouped into three main categories: knowledge, experience, and skill development. Posttest scores demonstrated significantly improved knowledge in key OEM subject areas.
Conclusions: Residents gained knowledge and insight regarding the possible impact of work on patients' health and considered the rotation highly relevant to their family medicine practice.