Living and working with the people of ‘the bush’: A foundation for rural and remote clinical placements in undergraduate medical education
Mak, D. B., & Miflin, B. (2012). Living and working with the people of ‘the bush’: A foundation for rural and remote clinical placements in undergraduate medical education. Medical Teacher, 34(9), e603-e610. doi:10.3109/0142159X.2012.670326
Background: The Australian Government's policies and programmes to redress the medical workforce shortage in rural and remote areas focus on recruitment of rural students and provision of rural clinical placements. The University of Notre Dame's Rural and Remote Health Placement Programme (RRHPP) uses an additional approach to address this issue.
Aim: This article describes the RRHPP undertaken by all medical students in the first 2-years of their course and examines the educational worth of this approach.
Method: Data were obtained from curricular documents, publications about the RRHPP and evaluation questionnaires administered to students and supervisors.
Results: The RRHPP provides students with opportunities to develop a patient- and community-centred perspective on the health issues of rural and remote populations by having them live and work with people in these areas prior to clinical placements. It is based on sound educational principles and underpinned by participation of rural/remote communities as experts and equal teaching partners. The RRHPP is valued and perceived by a majority of students and placement hosts as a useful strategy to develop medical students’ understanding of the rural/remote community context and its impact on health.
Conclusion: This community participatory approach benefits medical students and rural/remote communities.