Attitudes of rural general practitioners towards undergraduate medical student attachments.

A. Barritt, C. Silagy, P. Worley, R. Watts, J. Marley, D. Gill

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Increasing exposure of undergraduate medical students to rural practice is a key component of the national effort in Australia to redress the rural workforce shortage. For this exposure to be successful, willing cooperation of current rural general practitioners is essential. To date there has been no formal assessment of rural general practitioners' attitudes to having undergraduate medical students attached to their practice. METHOD: A descriptive survey, using a mailed questionnaire was sent to all 316 general practitioners currently practising in rural areas of South Australia, as identified from the database maintained by the South Australian Rural Practice Training Unit. RESULTS: A 71.5% response rate (n = 225) was achieved, of which 203 were eligible for inclusion. Of these, 176 doctors had medical student attachments in their practice on at least one occasion; 74.4% of whom (n = 131) perceived the attachments to have a positive experience on their continuing medical education experience, and 81.1% (n = 142) described a positive experience on their professional development. However, 52.6% (n = 92) felt the attachments had a negative effect on their income. Almost all the doctors who were included in the survey (94.6%, n = 192) were willing to have students attached to their practice in the future for between one to two weeks. Of these, 169 wanted quality assurance points, 112 wanted financial reimbursement, and 108 wanted 'academic status' with a university. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that rural general practitioners are willing to have students attached to their practice for periods between one to two weeks, providing they receive quality assurance points, and to a lesser extent, financial reimbursement and academic status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S87-90
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Volume26
Issue numberSuppl 2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997

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    Barritt, A., Silagy, C., Worley, P., Watts, R., Marley, J., & Gill, D. (1997). Attitudes of rural general practitioners towards undergraduate medical student attachments. Australian Family Physician, 26(Suppl 2), S87-90.