Brazilian medical schools have traditionally prioritized the hospital setting for teaching and thus end up training professionals that lack social commitment. In 2004, the course in medicine at the Federal University in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul State, implemented a new curriculum that included the so-called Regional Internship, during which interns spent two months in counties providing primary care under an agreement with the medical school. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, the aim of this cross-sectional, quantitative/qualitative study was to identify the perceptions of medical interns from the first class to participate in the Regional Internship concerning its impact on their training. More than 75% of the students' answers to the questionnaire indicated that the internship had contributed to their knowledge of the social and professional reality, improved the physician-patient relationship, and helped them develop self-confidence in exercising their profession. The main negative point was the lack of preparation by the internship preceptors in their faculty role. Given the current context of changes, the Regional Internship has emerged as a satisfactory proposal for expanding practice-teaching-learning settings and contributing to the humanist and personal training of future physicians, although it still lacks fully qualified preceptors for the purpose.
Medical Education; Primary Health Care; Regional Internship; Internship; Residency