Surgical undergraduate education in a rural setting is feasible and sound in terms of educational outcomes.
The final-year surgical curriculum at the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, was restructured to include the option of a rural surgical term.
Five provincial center hospitals in rural South Australia.
Forty-three final-year medical students undertook rural surgical clerkships in 1998.
Main Outcome Measures
End-of-year results and subjective ward assessments were compared between the group of students who completed rural surgical terms and the remainder of the student group who participated in tertiary hospital-based electives. Subjective student feedback was obtained in a survey conducted by the Clinical Education Development Unit at the University of Adelaide.
No significant (P = .45) differences in examination results were noted between the rural and city groups. A significant (P<.01) finding was observed in the subjective assessments, indicating that it was more difficult for the rural group to obtain an A grade compared with the city group. The rural students ranked the level of teaching and supervision highly and enjoyed the overall rural experience.
Surgical undergraduate education is practical in a rural setting and, for educational outcome, seems to be at least as effective as city-based surgical clerkships in preparing students for final examinations.