Supports for medical students during rural clinical placements: factors associated with intention to practise in rural locations
Citation: King KR, Purcell RA, Quinn SJ, Schoo AM, Walters LK. Supports for medical students during rural clinical placements: factors associated with intention to practise in rural locations. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2016; 16: 3791. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=3791 (Accessed 17 October 2017)
Introduction: Through rural clinical schools (RCSs), medical students may undertake an extended block of clinical training in rural Australia. The premise of these placements is that meaningful rural exposure will facilitate rural career uptake. RCSs offer a range of supports to facilitate student engagement in the program. This study aims to analyse RCS students’ perceptions of these supports and impact on intentions to work rurally.Key words: Australia, clinical placement, clinical school, education, medical, rural, student support, wellbeing.
Methods: Between September 2012 and January 2013 RCS students were invited to complete questions regarding perceptions of student support, as a part of the annual Federation of Australian Medical Educators survey. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify associations between supports and intentions for rural internship or career.
Results: There were 454 participants. A majority of students (n=349, 79.1%) felt well supported by their RCS. Students from a rural background (odds ratio (OR)=1.64 (95% confidence interval (CI):1.13–2.38)), or who indicated that their placement had a positive impact on their wellbeing (OR=1.38 (95%CI:1.07–1.80)), were more likely to intend to complete a rural internship. Those who felt socially isolated were less likely to elect this (OR=0.82 (0.70–0.97)). Outcomes were similar for those indicating a preference for rural or remote practice after completing training.
Conclusions: Student perceptions of supports offered by RCSs were generally very positive. Perceptions of financial support were not predictive of rural career intent. Although this does not negate the importance of providing appropriate financial supports, it does demonstrate that student wellbeing is a more important recruitment factor for rural practice.
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