Biomedical Research

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Neurophobia: a myth or an unpleasant fact for primary care physicians

We aimed to investigate neurophobia among primary care physicians. This study is designed as a descriptive and analytic research. At the 5th-7th meetings of the Family Practice Academy Research Days, volunteered 425 primary care physicians participated in this study. They had answered a questionnaire investigating the participants' interest, knowledge, professional confidence and perceived hardness of neurology by comparing it with other 10 speciality. They replied about the frequency, knowledge, professional confidence and referral rate of several neurological problems/diseases they encounter while practicing in primary care. Lastly they stated their opinions about possible reasons for perceived hardness in neurology with possible solution methods which might help them improving their neurology knowledge and skills. The participant's knowledge level (F=12.063, p<0.001), personal interest (F=8.795, p<0.001) and professional confidence (F=9.245, p<0.001) were lower than cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, nephrology, respiratory and rheumatology compared with neurology. They also perceive it harder compared to these specialities (F=10,214, p<0,001). The expectations were oncology and haematology. Need to know neurophysiology/anatomy, complexity of neurology and the rareness of the opportunity to work with a neurologist is the most common reasons for neurophobia. Headache was the most common problem that they encountered (F=8,512, p<0,001), while they have got the highest knowledge level (F=6,474, p<0,001), professional confidence to manage it (F=3,214, p<0,001) and had lowest referral rate (F=9,521, p<0,001). As conclusion, neurophobia is present inexperienced primary care physicians. Our results must be confirmed and interventional studies are needed to eliminate this condition in primary care.

Author(s): Ozlem Midik, Bektas Murat Yalcin, Esra Yalcin, Onur Ozturk