Being Strategic with Solutions for Rural Health Care Workers
Rural communities with local doctors and nursesThere are any factors that contribute to the inaccessibility of proper health care for individuals residing in rural areas, including geographical distance, shortage of local well-educated health-care workers and the costs of travelling to well equipped urban health centres.

It is challenging to address many of these issues, especially since they are tied to other considerations involving the family’s financial well-being, regulatory environment, and poorly formed health system, among others. Nevertheless, it is possible to establish a sufficient and sustainable rural healthcare workforce through the commitment and collaboration of governments, communities and medical schools. 

Rural Experience

Studies suggest that medical education has a huge role to play in addressing the issue of shortage of properly trained healthcare workers in rural areas by influencing their recruitment and retention.

Unfortunately, most medical schools across the world are located in large urban centres, where students are only exposed to the influence of the city. These students do not receive medical training in the rural context, and are consequently unfamiliar with the healthcare needs of rural folk. This, in turn, can limit their practice area to large cities.

To counteract this effect, some medical schools situated in large cities have introduced specific programmes aimed atgiving students rural experience through key placement programs.

Additionally, there are a few medical schools situated in small towns within large rural areas that focus on enrolling students from those regions, who can serve their communities upon graduating.

Social Accountability 

While this has solved part of the issue, there are still many medical graduates who study in rural areas of developing countries and end up working in rural areas of developed countries. As such, studies recommend that medical schools initiate and operate under a social accountability framework that makes them responsible to their areas.

4 Approaches towards a Solution

In this regard, studies propose the following four approaches to enhance the ability of medical schools to educate, recruit, and retain rural physicians in their regions and similar environs:

1. Create opportunities for students from rural areas to enroll in medical schools 

Studies claim that most of the physicians working in rural regions come from a rural background. This suggests that the medical workforce in these areas could be increased if there were more students from rural regions enrolling in medical programs.

Considering the competitiveness of these programs, especially with wealthy and educated parents pushing their children to pursue such courses, rural students are quite disadvantaged in landing spots in medical learning institutions to get the necessary education. To address this concern, governments and medical learning institutions should come up with cohesive strategies that make medical school accessible and affordable to rural students.

Such strategies include:

  • formulation of admission policies that acknowledge the diversity of geographic backgrounds
  • pre-medical school outreach (education preparatory) courses
  • tuition and scholarship support

2. Provide medical students with relevant education to understand the challenges of rural communities

Studies suggest that most physicians working in rural regions have obtained rural medicine learning experiences while receiving training in medical school. Medical education is universal, though it is also contextual.

There are notable demographic and geographic differences between rural and urban areas, especially with regard to social determinants of disease and illness patterns, health, and health status.

Tailoring medical graduates for rural practice requires the development of an education support structure that integrates experiential learning and rural curriculum context to promote their understanding of the rural communities, as well as their health challenges. This can also steer more students to a preference in practicing in rural regions. 

3. Offer post-graduate training in rural regions 

While it is necessary to introduce medical students to the rural medical environment while still in training, it is just as important to offer vocational training in rural areas to provide the practitioners with specific skills and knowhow to succeed in rural practice.

Well tailored rural medicine postgraduate training programs can enhance the ability of physicians to care for a population with limited access to highly technical services and specialist support, and possibly motivate more physicians to venture into rural practice. 

4. Create opportunities for professional development 

One of the biggest concerns for physicians involved in rural practice is the lack of sufficient channels to develop and maintain deep skills and a wide knowledge base that is necessary to work efficiently.

The distance barrier keeps them from interacting with specialists. Fortunately, medical schools can integrate rural relevant research and education with healthcare. Such integrated outreach opportunities for  physicians, students, and residents can allow the parties to share their experiences on a regular basis, and learn together, without physicians having to leave their busy rural practices. 

Strategic Solutions

With governments, communities, and medical schools working hand in hand, it is possible to come up with strategies that include financial incentives, better health systems, and relevant practice environments, it is possible to not only improve the education and recruitment of rural physicians, but also retain their expertise in rural regions.



More Inspiring Stories

More Inspiring Stories

Getting Your Next Family PetGetting Your Next Family PetA family pet makes a great addition to a family and household.

Where you get your pet is equally important - pet shop, breeder or animal rescue centre. Here we look at the large variety of animal rescue centres where you can get virtually any type of animal, even down to selecting particular breeds!

Tips for Student Interns Working AbroadTips for Student Interns Working AbroadSo you think international internships are the go and you've decided a student internship is the adventure you want to get a broader experience to put you ahead of the pack at home!

Here we have a heap of great tips to help you get started so you can make the most of the intern opportunities offered by international internship programs.

Great Gardening Tips For Garden LoversGreat Gardening Tips For Garden LoversFind out everything you need to know about all different types of gardening. These blogs will teach you about garden design, potted gardens, herb gardens, bonsai gardens and more. Make your garden flourish with all these great tips and be inspired online!
12 Easy Ways to Bring Kindness Into Daily Life12 Easy Ways to Bring Kindness Into Daily LifeThe kindness of strangers can make a difficult day a special day, so too can simple acts of kindness to our friends and family.

With our busy lives we sometimes need a little help seeing how simple it is to offer a kindness to another so we've come up with 12 easy acts of kindness to explore.

Quiet Your Inner Critic and Pursue Your DreamsQuiet Your Inner Critic and Pursue Your DreamsStop letting your persistent inner critic run your life. Boost your confidence with these top 5 confidence boosters and kick your inner critic out of the drivers seat.

Find out what you can do to gain more confidence and help yourself be more successful in life. Stop doubting yourself and allow yourself to stand out in the crowd!

The Value of a Good SleepThe Value of a Good SleepIf you’re not getting enough night sleep or what you’re getting isn’t up to standard, you might be one of millions of people who struggle with falling and staying asleep.

If you’re not waking up feeling refreshed, alert and ready to meet the challenges of the day, here are some tips that might help bring you a good night sleep.

Learning to Forgive YourselfLearning to Forgive YourselfLearning to forgive yourself can be one of the most heart welcoming gifts to yourself and loved ones but it is often difficult to know where to start.

Here we look at 5 ideas how to get started and what's involved in forgiving yourself.

The Secret Way to Pay it Forward with KindnessThe Secret Way to Pay it Forward with KindnessNeed some ideas on random acts of kindness you can perform? These top 10 blogs on kindness will give you great ideas on how you can spread kindness to others as well as yourself.

Find out how others have paid it forward and get inspired to spread kindness to everyone around you!

Search by Keyword

Search by Keyword

Follow on facebook
Follow on Twitter
Copyright © She Inspires Life Bondi Junction, NSW
2009 - 2017