ObjectiveCollecting information during patient encounters is essential for the delivery of patient-centered care. To obtain insight into areas that require more attention in medical communication training, this study explores what difficulties GP trainees encounter when gathering information.MethodsIn this phenomenological study, we observed a morning clinic of 15 GP trainees. To explore trainees’ experiences with information-gathering, we held brief interviews after every consultation and a lengthier interview directly after the morning clinic. The resulting data were analyzed using template analysis.ResultsFrom trainees’ reflections, we distilled five difficulties that trainees experience when gathering information: (1) Goal conflicts, (2) Ineffectiveness of trained communication skills in specific situations, (3) Trainees’ distress hampers open communication, (4) Untrustworthy information, (5) Tunnel vision.ConclusionInformation-gathering is difficult for GP trainees. Current generic communication skills training does not seem to support trainees sufficiently to handle effectively the challenges they encounter during consultations.Practice implicationsMedical communication training needs to support trainees in handling their goal-conflicts and feelings that hamper information-gathering, while also providing them with communication strategies adapted to handling specific challenging situations.