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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 70-74

A Networking Approach to Reduce Academic and Social Isolation for Junior Doctors Working in Rural Hospitals in India

1 Medical Education Unit and Department of Physiology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India
2 Department of Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India
3 Medical Education Unit, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India
4 Department of Distance Education, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India
5 Department of Medical Education, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA

Correspondence Address:
R Vyas
Medical Education Unit, Christian Medical College, Vellore-632002, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: Christian Medical College, Vellore, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.99212

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Introduction: Graduates from Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore face many challenges while doing their service obligation in smaller hospitals, including academic and social isolation. To overcome these challenges, CMC aspired through its Fellowship in Secondary Hospital Medicine (FSHM), a 1-year blended on-site and distance-learning program, to provide academic and social support through networking for junior doctors working in rural areas. The purpose of this paper is to report the evaluation of the networking components of the FSHM program, with a focus on whether it succeeded in providing academic and social support for these junior doctors. Methods: A mixed method evaluation was done using written surveys for students and faculty and telephone interviews for students. Evidence for validity was gathered for the written survey. Criteria for validity were also applied for the qualitative data analysis. Results: The major strengths of networking with faculty and peers identified were that it provided social support,, academic support through discussion about patient management problems and a variety of cases seen in the hospital, guidance on projects and reminders about deadlines. Recommendations for improvement included use of videoconferencing and Yahoo Groups. Conclusion: It is useful to incorporate networking into distance-learning educational programs for providing support to junior doctors working in rural hospitals.

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