James Cook University ISSN 1445-6354
Since 2010, the Chinese government has been introducing a selective admission policy to recruit rural students for five-year western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine undergraduate education in order to improve the medical services in the rural townships of western China. This study analyzed the selective admission policy in western China from the perspective of medical students' attitudes towards a rural career choice. A cross-sectional survey was conducted and an anonymous questionnaire was used to investigate a sample of medical undergraduates enjoying the selective admission policy. The results indicate that medical undergraduates’ enthusiasm to work in rural areas was very limited in Gansu province, western China. Extrinsic motivation played a more important role in rural career choice than intrinsic motivation. Students' attitudes were affected by socioeconomic and cultural conditions, which determined fulfilling personal and professional environment. The profession majored in and family economic conditions were associated with their self-decision. Further educational intervention should emphasize the students’ humanistic inner quality and recognition of the professional value. Further policy adjustment should be taken into consideration by means of improving social policy system based regional characters and national development strategy.