Results of the Azov School of Family Medicine 2021


The Azov School of Family Medicine 2021 used the latest teaching methods and international algorithms for providing medical care. Family physicians, pediatricians, therapists, and nurses participated in lectures and clinical workshops based on the principles of evidence-based medicine. The updated intensive educational course has created opportunities for clinical skills and conditions for productive networking among primary and secondary health care professionals.

During the first session of the School on strategic planning, the development of family medicine and how it is perceived by students and teachers of various high educational institutions in Ukraine were discussed. We were thinking about whether the profession of family doctor looks attractive to students of medical universities and future doctors. In 2019, the Ukrainian-Swiss project “Development of Medical Education” surveyed 2,405 third and sixth-year study students of the faculty of medicine and 385 teachers of five medical universities (a representative, quota stratified sample). The study focused on three aspects:

  • choice of future specialization (distribution and factors),
  • the process of teaching family medicine in the master’s program “Medicine”,
  • general perception of family medicine.

In her report, Tetiana Stepurko, Head of the Office for the Implementation of the Ukrainian-Swiss Project “Development of Medical Education,” researcher and lecturer at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, shared the results of her work:

  • Family medicine does not look like an attractive specialty for those who choose their future career path.
  • Both students and teachers do not always have reliable information and knowledge about the family doctor profession. For example, a statement such as “Family doctors can solve only minor health problems” received almost 50% of the answers “I agree.” Moreover, studying family medicine receives very negative reviews from students due to a lack of connection with practice, outdated information, and teachers’ lack of attention and interest.
  • Respondents mostly supported the statement “Family doctors are not valued in our society” – 64% of students and 56% of teachers, and the fact that “Family doctors have limited career opportunities” – 58% of students and 59% of teachers.

These results illustrate that while the family doctor community is growing stronger and gaining the public and policymakers’ support, medical universities are not currently partners in strengthening family medicine because of the consistency and truthfulness of the representation of future professions. The time has probably come for the progressive community of family doctors to decide whether there is a willingness to plan and implement active initiative communication to attract the best and most motivated graduates. The new generation of physicians can continue to help best practices.

Learn more about our research conducted by the project team here →

Our educational Saturday started richly with the BLS + AED training. Family doctors and nurses need to update their knowledge and practical skills in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, hemostasis, and anaphylaxis. It is necessary to bring their actions to automatism and act quickly in a critical situation when human life is on the scales.

So the first day of Azov School, we held master classes following world protocols, together with professional trainers – tactical medicine instructor Ivan Kondratenko and pediatric surgeon Dmytro Samofalov. Participants were divided into two groups. Mr. Ivan conducted training on providing medical care to adults, and Mr. Dmytro conducted training on providing medical care to children. They talked about whom, where, and what should provide aid. They also practiced clinical skills in a separate training on anaphylaxis in small groups. We share with you a small checklist that will not get lost to you in an unpredictable situation when you need help:

  • make sure that you are safe,
  • check for a response,
  • call for help,
  • restore airway patency,
  • check for breathing,
  • provide an emergency call,
  • take five rescue breaths if the victim is a child,
  • start resuscitation: 30 pressures up to 2 breaths for adults and 15 pressures up to 2 breaths for children,
  • connect the defibrillator,
  • perform the electric shock,
  • continue compression.

We worked on a clinical workshop on vaccination with Fedir Lapiy, Iryna Voloshyna, and Olena Kondratenko. We have been speaking in particular detail about solving the problem of critical thinking deficit, which is crucial in the age of consuming so much information. Furthermore, we suggest you think about the following:

  • doubt, take information critically,
  • have an understanding of the interpretation of research results; there may be errors in the design and conclusions of the research,
  • English is the language of communication in the medical sphere around the world, “medical” English is simple,
  • choose sources of information that have a high scientific level of reputation; not all “scientific” journals are scientific,
  • human position does not guarantee the availability of reliable information; take off your hat in front of the authorities, but not take off your head.

And here are life hacks for quick mastering of the vaccination calendar:

  • use the table,
  • use mobile applications
  • plan the date of the next vaccinations,
  • practice several vaccinations in one session,
  • record what you have done in the vaccination diaries.

We also propose you useful materials on vaccination:

During the interactive pulmonary course, everyone, along with the director of medical education of Basildon University Hospital, Samuel Johnson, and family physician Orest Kulenych, gained a basic understanding of oxygen and noninvasive ventilation. We practiced solving clinical cases and active work with oxygen concentrators, CPAP, and cough relief devices.

The third day of School began with the training on stopping bleeding. Together with Ivan Kondratenko, we analyzed the types of bleeding, unified clinical protocols, and dwelled in detail on the procedure for tamponade, and we share with you:

  • identify the source of bleeding,
  • tamponade in the wound, i.e., in the blood,
  • if possible, tamponade to the bone,
  • tamponade from the bottom to the surface of the wound,
  • tampon “from the heart to finger,”
  • fill the entire wound cavity with a bandage,
  • apply pressure to the wound with tamponade (hemostatic bandage 3-5 minutes, gauze 7-10 minutes),
  • apply a pressure bandage.

Dmytro Samofalov conducted the training of the Heimlich maneuver. This technique is used when obstructs the upper respiratory tract by a foreign body and involves rapid pressure on the abdominal wall under the sternum. Henry Heimlich first described this procedure in 1974. Interestingly, in May 2016, Heimlich had to use this technique himself to save an 87-year-old woman in a nursing home where he was.

Together with Vadym Vus, the participants of the School worked on the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma during the “Turquoise Eye” training. Mr. Vadym also presented a portable ultrasound for family doctors and talked about the difference between POCUS and conventional ultrasound:

  • performed by a doctor (not an ultrasound specialist) or a nurse,
  • small and simple device,
  • quickly and in any room,
  • Ultrasound goes to the patient, not vice versa,
  • purpose is action, not a protocol,
  • abbreviated description,
  • answers a specific clinical question,
  • low risk of contamination,
  • low cost,
  • a priori probability shows separate limits of such diagnostics,
  • disruptive innovation.

Finally, together with the head of the social project “Your Family Doctor,” co-author of the model of soft skills for doctors of primary health care Anastasiia Pustova and family doctor Anastasiia Khodan, figured out what is medical ethics.

We are once again convinced that the Azov School of Family Medicine is just an excellent educational format that forms a shared space where it is exciting and fun to study together. Thank you, participants and speakers, for the incredible networking! We are grateful to all who contributed to the event and, together with us, created this event for those who care about personal development.