What is the impact of longitudinal rural medical student clerkships on clinical supervisors and hospitals?

Marnie Connolly, Linda Sweet, David Campbell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: Studies have investigated the impact of medical students undertaking longitudinal clerkships in General Practices; however, little is known about the impact of students' longitudinal clerkships on clinical supervisors in the hospital environment. This research aimed to explore the educational impacts and benefits gained from supervisory responsibilities in a rural hospital context. Design: We assessed the impact of longitudinal clerkships using individual and group-structured interviews. The responses were thematically analysed by the researchers. Setting: Two rural hospitals in Victoria, Australia. Participants: Fifteen senior medical and nursing staff at two rural hospitals who supervised year four medical students in a longitudinal clinical program. Results: Thematic analysis identified three major themes: changes to the supervisor, change in the hospital learning culture and student usefulness. Doctors and nurses who undertook student supervisory responsibilities reported a sense of personal change, including increased reflective practice, improved value of professional identity and increased enthusiasm for interprofessional learning. Supervisors updated their clinical skills and became proactive in seeking out learning opportunities for students. Hospitals became more vibrant learning environments and interprofessional education enhanced teamwork. Patient care increased, knowledge gaps filled and hospital governance, policy and procedures challenged. Conclusion: The benefits of longitudinal clerkship in the rural hospital setting provided symbiotic relationships between hospitals, students, patients and educations provider. The interprofessional approach towards clinical supervision enhanced supervisor learning and generated an understanding among professional groups of each other's clinical skills, roles and values, and raised an awareness of the importance of working collaboratively for better patient outcomes and addressing future workforce shortages.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-188
    Number of pages10
    JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


    • Clinical supervision
    • Clinical supervisor
    • Interprofessional education
    • Longitudinal integrated curriculum
    • Medical student


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