Country students outshine city slackers
Medical students who have their clinical training in the community get higher exam results than those who train in tertiary hospitals, says a new BMJ study (BMJ 2004;328:207-9).
A five year study carried out by Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, found that nearly a third of students, who were placed at rural general practitioner's surgeries or small secondary hospitals, gained higher marks in their finals than the rest who did their clinical training at the tertiary training hospital, despite identical curriculums.
Paul Worley, director of the Rural Clinical School at Flinders, says that with their rural programme the students get to interact with patients out of the medical context as well as in it: “Students feel valued and included as part of the current health team and the future local medical workforce rather than feeling in the way.”
The rural community curriculum was started in 1997 and sent students to small