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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-18

Factors Influencing the completion of 2 years of rural service by MBBS graduates at an Indian medical college – A qualitative study

Department of Anatomy, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Nachiket Shankar
Department of Anatomy, St. John's Medical College, Sarjapur Road, Bengaluru-. 560 034, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_288_17

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Background: Physician shortage in rural areas is a global problem that is one of the contributors to disparities in health indicators between rural and urban areas. The medical college to which the authors are attached has a 2-year mandatory rural service requirement which medical graduates are expected to fulfil. However, some students choose the option of paying off rather than completing the service requirement. The objective of this study was to explore the facilitating factors and barriers for MBBS graduates from the above medical college to complete the mandatory rural service requirement. Methods: This was a qualitative study in which data was collected through in-depth interviews with 15 alumni of the college who were pursuing their postgraduate courses or working as junior residents. The participants in the study comprised those who completed or partially fulfilled the rural service requirement as well as those who chose to opt out of it. Data collection and analysis were done in August and September 2016 after obtaining ethical clearance from the Institutional Ethics Committee. Purposive sampling was done to ensure the diversity of responses. A semi-structured interview guide was used to conduct the interviews after pilot testing. Transcripts of the interviews were then analyzed for emergent themes related to the objective of the study. Results: Certain themes were identified as both facilitating and inhibiting factors for completing the rural service requirement. These included financial aspects, utilization of time, and peer influences. Facilitating factors included the need to acquire clinical and practical skills, moral considerations, the influence of the college, and the need to broaden perspectives. Unforeseen exigencies served as a barrier. Discussion:: The identified facilitating factors and barriers will serve as a useful starting point to initiate measures to encourage MBBS graduates to work in rural areas.

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