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Original Research

Reported reasons of medical students for choosing a clinical longitudinal integrated clerkship in an Australian rural clinical school

Submitted: 26 September 2008
Revised: 5 February 2009
Published: 26 March 2009

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Author(s) : Denz-Penhey H, Murdoch J.

Harriet Denz-PenheyJ Campbell Murdoch

Citation: Denz-Penhey H, Murdoch J.  Reported reasons of medical students for choosing a clinical longitudinal integrated clerkship in an Australian rural clinical school. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2009; 9: 1093. Available: (Accessed 20 October 2017)


Introduction: With the expectation that students educated in a rural setting will be likely to return to practise in a rural area after graduation, the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia (RCSWA) focuses on long-term placements in rural areas during studentsí clinical training. Objective: to identify why students chose to come to RCSWA. Setting: each of the 10 rural and remote sites in the RCSWA office.
Methods: All students in 2006 and 2007 attending the RCSWA who were available for the mid-year evaluation interviews participated (n = 98). A qualitative thematic analysis of individual interviews was undertaken and emerging themes were compared, with the 2006 data used as a basis to consider the data from 2007.
Results: Three major reasons for coming to RCSWA were identified, with most students giving more than one reason. Over 80% of the students reported that they expected to receive broader and better clinical and academic learning opportunities in the rural setting. Three-quarters of the students chose the RCS in order to have the chance to have a year experiencing rural life. One-third of the students came for personal development and increased life experience. The reasons for coming were often multidimensional. Students also articulated reasons for not coming which they considered prior to accepting the position in the RCSWA. In addition, they gave examples of why their decision to come had been a good one, in terms of opportunities for clinical learning and their other identified reasons.
Conclusion: Students reported they perceived an academic year spent in a rural area to be so overwhelmingly positive that they were prepared to give up everything the city has to offer and go to a different, often challenging environment in order to participate.

Key words: clinical clerkships, curriculum delivery, graduate training, medical education, undergraduate training.

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