Author(s): Holst J, Normann O, Herrmann M
Abstract Share this page
Abstract CONTEXT: After decades of providing a dense network of quality medical care, Germany is facing an increasing shortage of medical doctors in rural areas. Current graduation rates of generalists do not counterbalance the loss due to retirement. Informed by international evidence, different strategies to ensure rural medical care are under debate, including innovative teaching approaches during undergraduate training. ISSUES: The University of Magdeburg in Saxony-Anhalt was the first medical school in Germany to offer a rural elective for graduate students. During the 2014 summer semester, 14 medical students attended a two-weekend program in a small village in Northern Saxony-Anhalt that allowed them to become more familiar with a rural community and rural health issues. LESSONS LEARNED: The elective course raised a series of relevant topics for setting up rural practice and provided students with helpful insight into living and working conditions in rural practice. Preliminary evaluations indicate that the rural medicine course allowed medical students to reduce pre-existing concerns and had positive impact on their willingness to set up a rural medical office after graduation. Even short-term courses in rural practice can help reduce training-related barriers that prevent young physicians from working in rural areas. Undergraduate medical training is promising to attenuate the emerging undersupply in rural areas.
This article was published in Rural Remote Health
and referenced in Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education