Indexed on: 25 May '11Published on: 25 May '11Published in: Australian Journal of Rural Health
This paper reports on an evaluation of the John Flynn Placement Program (JFPP) for medical students. JFPP aims for medical students to experience both rural medicine and rural life as a way of increasing rural career intentions.Medical students experience two weeks a year over four years with a rural doctor. Students are evaluated at the end of each placement for clinical and social experiences and career intent. They are followed up annually to monitor career intent. Mentors are evaluated annually on clinical and rural experiences during a placement.The Australian Government has several initiatives to encourage recruitment into rural medicine. One initiative is the JFPP. Students from all medical schools are placed with experienced general practitioners in rural and remote areas 4-7 locations across Australia.Evaluation data from 1450 placements from 2005-2009 are reported.Data are presented highlighting evaluation of student and mentor perceptions of clinical and social experiences. Longitudinal tracking data provide an indication of the success of the program in terms of recruitment into the rural workforce.Overall mean for clinical and rural experiences is extremely positive for both students and mentors. After four JFPP placements 65% of students intend to work in rural areas. After one JFPP experience 9% indicate intent to practise as a rural general practitioner while after their fourth JFPP nearly 20% are indicating intent to practise as a rural general practitioner.Longitudinal experiences, such as the JFPP, are positively influencing intention to enter the rural workforce but the impact of urban centric vocational training might be negating this impact.