Using evaluation to improve medical student rural experience

Moffatt, Jennifer J. and Wyatt, Janine E. (2016) Using evaluation to improve medical student rural experience. Australian Health Review, 40 2: 174-180. doi:10.1071/AH14195


Author Moffatt, Jennifer J.
Wyatt, Janine E.
Title Using evaluation to improve medical student rural experience
Journal name Australian Health Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0156-5788
1449-8944
Publication date 2016-01-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/AH14195
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 40
Issue 2
Start page 174
End page 180
Total pages 7
Place of publication Clayton, VIC, Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Language eng
Abstract Objective The aim of this evaluation was to see whether interventions implemented to improve the Rural Medicine Rotation made this a more effective rural medical education experience. Multiple interventions targeting the student experience, lecturers and preceptors were implemented. Methods A quasi-experimental design using pre- and post-measures was used. The participants were all University of Queensland, School of Medicine, Rural Medicine Rotation students who completed the 2009 and 2010 rural medicine rotation evaluations. There were 769 students, with an 84% response rate in 2009 and an 80% response rate in 2010. In addition, all the 25 program preceptors who were visited in 2009 and the 34 who were visited in 2010 participated in the study. Results The implementation of interventions resulted in significant improvement in three outcome measures, namely teaching effectiveness, provision of an environment supportive of learning in a rural/remote setting and opportunities for professional growth. Two of the three other outcome measures - ensuring a safe clinical placement and opportunities for procedural skills experience and development - were very positively evaluated in both 2009 and 2010. Conclusions The interventions contributed to a more effective rural medical education experience, providing students with the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge relevant for rural medicine and to gain an understanding of the context in which rural medicine is practiced. What is known about the topic? Many Australian medical schools offer students rural-based educational opportunities based on the premise that placing medical students in a rural setting may ultimately lead to them choosing careers in rural medicine. However, there is a paucity of evidence on the factors that are considered necessary for medical students to gain a positive rural experience of short conscripted rural placements. What does the paper add? This paper identifies successful interventions to the rotation and placements that provide a positive experience of the rural clinical placement for students. These interventions occurred within an ongoing evaluation program embedded in the rotation. What are the implications for practitioners? Through ongoing evaluation, interventions can be selected and implemented that succeed in contributing to students having a positive rural clinical placement experience. This paper demonstrates how an embedded continuous improvement program serves to provide direction for ongoing modifications.
Formatted abstract
Objective: The aim of this evaluation was to see whether interventions implemented to improve the Rural Medicine Rotation made this a more effective rural medical education experience. Multiple interventions targeting the student experience, lecturers and preceptors were implemented.

Methods: A quasi-experimental design using pre- and post-measures was used. The participants were all University of Queensland, School of Medicine, Rural Medicine Rotation students who completed the 2009 and 2010 rural medicine rotation evaluations. There were 769 students, with an 84% response rate in 2009 and an 80% response rate in 2010. In addition, all the 25 program preceptors who were visited in 2009 and the 34 who were visited in 2010 participated in the study.

Results: The implementation of interventions resulted in significant improvement in three outcome measures, namely teaching effectiveness, provision of an environment supportive of learning in a rural/remote setting and opportunities for professional growth. Two of the three other outcome measures - ensuring a safe clinical placement and opportunities for procedural skills experience and development - were very positively evaluated in both 2009 and 2010.

Conclusions: The interventions contributed to a more effective rural medical education experience, providing students with the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge relevant for rural medicine and to gain an understanding of the context in which rural medicine is practiced.

What is known about the topic? Many Australian medical schools offer students rural-based educational opportunities based on the premise that placing medical students in a rural setting may ultimately lead to them choosing careers in rural medicine. However, there is a paucity of evidence on the factors that are considered necessary for medical students to gain a positive rural experience of short conscripted rural placements.

What does the paper add? This paper identifies successful interventions to the rotation and placements that provide a positive experience of the rural clinical placement for students. These interventions occurred within an ongoing evaluation program embedded in the rotation.

What are the implications for practitioners? Through ongoing evaluation, interventions can be selected and implemented that succeed in contributing to students having a positive rural clinical placement experience. This paper demonstrates how an embedded continuous improvement program serves to provide direction for ongoing modifications.
Keyword Medical student rural experience
Rural medicine rotation
Teaching effectiveness
Learning environment
Opportunities
Professional growth
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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