Undergraduate psychiatry training for rural medical students, learning lessons and developing novel approaches
Background: Attracting doctors to work in rural areas has historically been challenging but the development of initiatives such as the Rural Clinical Training and Support (RCTS) program in Australia are anticipated to change this situation in the future. Currently there are 17 Rural Clinical Schools across Australia, managed by 16 Universities. The University of Wollongong is one of only a few universities offering rural based training from the very beginning of the medical school experience. With change comes challenge. The provision of high quality educational experiences with limited local access to specialists has compelled education providers to seek novel approaches. Methods: We sought to assess the experience of students in the 3rd phase of training with regard to learning psychiatry. Results: The experiences were variable and suggested the need to review the delivery of psychiatry training to meet the objectives and give students a solid foundation in this central and cross cutting discipline of medicine. Conclusion: We conclude that the ongoing development of rurally relevant learning materials and diversifying the delivery channels for this material will provide a more equitable and fulfilling experience for students and their supervisors.