Primary care physicians' learning needs in returning ill or injured workers to work. A scoping review

Publication type
Journal article
Furlan AD, Harbin S, Vieira FF, Irvin E, Severin C, Nowrouzi-Kia B, Tiong M, Adisesh A
Date published
2022 May 01
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Open Access?

Primary care physicians are uniquely positioned to assist ill and injured workers to stay-at-work or to return-to-work. Purpose The purpose of this scoping review is to identify primary care physicians' learning needs in returning ill or injured workers to work and to identify gaps to guide future research. Methods We used established methodologies developed by Arksey and O'Malley, Cochrane and adapted by the Systematic Review Program at the Institute for Work & Health. We used Distiller SR©, an online systematic review software to screen for relevance and perform data extraction. We followed the PRISMA for Scoping Reviews checklist for reporting. Results We screened 2106 titles and abstracts, 375 full-text papers for relevance and included 44 studies for qualitative synthesis. The first learning need was related to administrative tasks. These included (1) appropriate record-keeping, (2) time management to review occupational information, (3) communication skills to provide clear, sufficient and relevant factual information, (4) coordination of services between different stakeholders, and (5) collaboration within teams and between different professions. The second learning need was related to attitudes and beliefs and included intrinsic biases, self-confidence, role clarity and culture of blaming the patient. The third learning need was related to specific knowledge and included work capacity assessments and needs for sick leave, environmental exposures, disclosure of information, prognosis of certain conditions and care to certain groups such as adolescents and pregnant workers. The fourth learning need was related to awareness of services and tools. Conclusions There are many opportunities to improve medical education for physicians in training or in continuing medical education to improve care for workers with an illness or injury that affect their work