The MD Rural Stream (MDRS) recently celebrated 25 years in operation across SA and has been extensively evaluated, with the aim of maximising the student learning experience. Students, clinicians, and administrators contributed to this evaluation, which offers insights into the program’s strengths and identifies opportunities for the future.
What did we find? The evaluation confirmed that the program is delivering a strong learning experience through a network of committed educators, but could be further strengthened by formalising its curriculum philosophy and strategies. In particular, there is an opportunity to explicitly contextualise the medical program curriculum within the social contexts of the community.
Recommendations include: strengthening vertical and horizontal integration across the curriculum; enabling rural placement continuity in year four; working together to develop an evidence base for educational practices; coordinating activities across sites where practical; foregrounding the perspective of the person receiving care; and formalising learning through community participation. Details forthcoming in a full report.
What happens now? The Medical Program Board has approved the formation of a ‘MDRS Program Development Group’ who will steer the evaluation’s recommendations into action. Importantly, implementation will be based on principles that embody the values and intentions of the development project:
1. Build from strengths
2. Make best use of existing resources and services
3. Explore adjustments to existing practices with those involved
4. Involve students and community as partners in change
5. Lead the clinical education field boldly, and back it in with evidence
6. Evaluate the processes and outcomes of all initiatives
7. Integrate development and quality processes into normal operations
As the evaluation project moves into this new ‘action’ phase, the leadership team would like to take this opportunity to again thank those who have contributed to the evaluation, and invite you to stay involved. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities, or contact Nicola Parkin, who is supporting implementation, for more information at any time.
Dr Nicola Parkin
Evaluation Support Officer