Rural Week

Rural Week is a one week learning experience for all first year medical students enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. Rural Week provides an opportunity for the students to get first-hand experience and exposure to not just rural and northern medicine but rural and northern life. It is an opportunity for participating communities to showcase themselves and promote the opportunities and benefits of rural and northern medicine.

In its first year (2003), Rural Week was an optional experience and was selected by 70% of the class. In 2004, Rural Week was approved as a component of the Med 1 curriculum and the entire class spent one week in communities in rural and northern Manitoba. The experience was planned to provide all first year medical students with a rural based clinical and community experience. Students spend the week gaining exposure to the work and lifestyle of the rural physician, and experience some aspects of rural life.

It takes the efforts of numerous preceptors, health care professionals and countless community volunteers to provide students with rural medicine and community experiences. Students are also given the opportunity to visit local high schools to provide information and encourage students to consider careers in medicine in general, and rural medicine in particular.

Overall, evaluations by students, as well as those of preceptors and communities were overwhelmingly positive. The students felt the experience was conductive to learning, provided good clinical exposure and informed them about the varied scope of rural and remote/northern medicine.

Rural Week is coordinated by the Department of Family Medicine, Max Rady College of Medicine in conjunction with the Office of Rural and Northern Health

Goal

The goal of the Rural Week experience is to provide first year medical students with exposure to the work and lifestyle of the rural family physician, with the intent to promote rural medicine as a career choice.

Objective

At the end of Rural Week (in May of each year) the student will be able to: Develop a basic understanding of the role of the rural family physician in his/her community: in the office in the hospital, for inpatient care and emergency room coverage for obstetrical care, if applicable in fulfilling other commitments to the community Describe the importance of the rural physician as part of a multidisciplinary health care team. Describe the role of other members of the health care team after having spent time with these team members. Understand a rural physician's lifestyle, and will have participated in extracurricular activities. Assess patients under the supervision of the family physician.

Expectations

The student is expected to spend the majority of time with his/her family medicine preceptor. The student will follow the preceptor on morning rounds, attend at the office, and be on call with their preceptor as well. During this week time will be spent with other members of the health care team, such as nurses, mental health care workers, and pharmacists. The student may also attend the local high school and discuss a career in medicine with interested students. The student is required to keep a log book. Expectations of the student are outlined in the student evaluation. Each student will review this prior to the beginning of the Rural Week. The student will complete an evaluation of the experience, and be evaluated by the preceptors.