Evaluation of the parallel rural community curriculum at Flinders University of South Australia: Lessons learnt for Africa
Objectives: To review data collected during an evaluation of the PRCC in the light of critical issues for medical education in Africa.
Design: Individual and focus group interviews were conducted with students, staff, health service managers, preceptors and community members to evaluate experiences of the PRCC, as part of a broader evaluation of the year 3 curriculum.
Results: Students are exposed to and learn comprehensive, holistic, relationship-based care of patients with a wide range of problems. Students have varying experience in different sites yet achieve the same outcomes. Students learn through an apprenticeship model and a graded increase in responsibility for patient care. There is a strong partnership with the health service, and the university involvement has an important impact on the health service. The programme is viewed very positively by all levels of government and is seen as an important contributor to addressing workforce needs.
Conclusions: The PRCC offers useful principles which deserve consideration by medical educators in Africa. The balance between sound education along with exposure to a variety of contexts is important. These principles have not only educational implications but also implications for recruitment and retention of staff in underserved areas.
Ian Douglas Couper, Wits University
Paul S Worley, Flinders University
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Date published: 2010-12-13
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