Curriculum guidelines for health professionals in training recommend including health students in different levels of service in the Unified Health System (Sistema Ãšnico de Saúde - SUS). Thus, there is a need to investigate the perceptions of SUS users with regard to the students' participation.
To evaluate the perceptions of SUS users about the participation of health students in Family Health Units (Unidades de Saúde da Família - USF).
A total of 518 people were interviewed in the waiting room of eight USFs in São Carlos/São Paulo. The interviews were conducted by students using a semi-structured questionnaire, and the data were analyzed descriptively.
A total of 391 (75.5%) women and 127 (24.5%) men, with a mean age of 42.0±17.5 years, were interviewed. Among these users, 33.1% had encountered students in the USF, mainly while receiving clinical care (52.1%) or during home visits (20.1%); 55.3% considered the student's performance very good, and 0.6% considered it very bad. Most of the interviewees (58.2%) evaluated the activity performed by the student as effective, whereas 8.2% considered it ineffective.
The students were included primarily in individual assistance activities, and the care provided by the students was well accepted. Both the users' satisfaction scores and their reported expectations were positive.
physical therapy; public policies and health; academic and professional background