Monday, September 15, 2008

NBC reports on programs to get more rural doctors by placing medical students at rural hospitals

As the lack of rural doctors becomes an increasingly serious concern, programs allowing medical students to spend their third year in rural hospitals provides hope that they will practice in such areas. "The goal is to hook them on rural health care helping them develop their sense of self sufficiency to meet the challenges of working outside a large city," reports NBC News, using as an example the Albany Medical College program that places students at rural Bassett Hospital in upstate New York.

There are 45 such programs in the U.S., with the same goal of showing students the benefits of becoming doctors in rural communities. The students are taught to become well versed in different areas of medicine and to take a greater interest in their patients' long-term needs. "The traditional way of medical school is you do a few months of everything, a few months of surgery, a few months of medicine," adds Bruna Babic, a third year medical student enrolled in the program. "Here we do it in a few weeks and then for seven months consecutively we have clinics or we’re doing different things in the morning or different things in the afternoon and the whole point of it is really to follow the patients we’ve met along the way.”

The program is competitive, having to turn down interested students each year. These programs give hope to rural communities that have struggled to attract doctors. While the students have just started the program while "a career outside a big city is already on their radar," NBC adds. (Read more)

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