Education to Prepare Health Professionals for Rural Practice
An Integrative Review of the Literature
Keywords:curriculum, health professional, health education, pedagogy, rural, remote
Rural and remote communities are challenged by an incongruous combination of poorer health and deficits of health workers. Health professionals working in rural and remote practice contexts are largely educated with standardised curriculum content designed for urban-dominant systems, even though non-urban populations account for approximately half of the global population. Education is one strategy considered pivotal to recruitment and retention of health care workers in rural areas, yet has received less research attention than strategies such as rural background, incentive schemes and clinical placements.
Peer reviewed literature published in English between 2011-2021 were obtained, guided by PRISMA-P guidelines (Shamseer, 2015). The aim of this review was to examine how health professionals are currently being prepared for rural practice.
Following key health database searches 189 relevant articles were retrieved, of which 26 articles met the inclusion criteria for final analysis. This review identified a heavy reliance upon standardised curricula delivered via clinical and interprofessional placements with little attention to specific rural curriculum content or pedagogic strategies tailored to rural and remote practice. Three themes were developed from the literature: Context (‘learning to think differently’, ‘relationships’, and ‘health leadership’), Curriculum and Pedagogy (‘rural clinical placements’ and ‘interprofessional education’).
There is a paucity of educational design and evaluation research to assess the value of education strategies that prepare health professionals to work in rural places. Identifying key rural pedagogic strategies can support curriculum content, experiences and assessment that provide health professionals with the competence, confidence and skills to sustain careers in rural and remote practice.
- 11-04-2023 (2)
- 23-03-2023 (1)
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Copyright (c) 2023 Margaret Adams
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