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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-7

Umeå University's proposed “Rural Stream” – An effective alternative to the longitudinal integrated clerkship model for small rural communities?

1 School of Business and Law, CQUniversity Australia, Cairns, Australia
2 Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine, Umeå University, Storuman, Umeå, Sweden
3 Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Umeå University, Storuman, Umeå, Sweden
4 Centre of Rural Medicine, Västerbotten County Council, Storuman, Umeå, Sweden

Correspondence Address:
Dean Carson
Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University, Darwin 0909
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_343_17

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Background: Umeå University Faculty of Medicine (UUFM), Sweden, has a regionalized medical program in which students spend the final 2½ years of their undergraduate degree in district hospitals. In late 2018, UUFM started a “rural stream” pilot exposing students to smaller rural locations. Methods: The objectives are to deliver the benefits for medical education and rural workforce development that have been observed in longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) while maintaining consistency between learning experiences in the main campus, regional campuses, and rural locations. This article compares the UUFM rural stream with those typical of the LICs described in the medical education literature. Comparisons are made in terms of the four key criteria for LIC success, and additional characteristics including peer and interprofessional learning, “'continuity,” and curriculum development. Results: The rural stream has elements of length, immersion, position in the degree program, and community engagement that are both similar to, and different from, LICs. Key challenges are to ensure that participating students create close relationships with host medical facilities and communities. The rural stream also has some potential advantages, particularly in relation to team learning. Discussion: Alternatives to the LIC rural stream model as typically described in the literature may be required to allow for immersive medical education to occur in smaller rural communities and to be suitable for medical schools with more traditional approaches to education.

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