Recent findings were published in the October issue of Southern Medical Journal titled “Teaching Medical Students in the Rural Setting Long Term: Physicians’ Attitudes and Perceptions,” to understand the kind of support rural preceptors need to confidently teach medical students in a proposed eight-month longitudinal rural curriculum.
Key outcomes revealed four themes that collectively captured physicians’ perceptions as to what they needed to conduct successful long-term preceptorships:
Preceptor characteristics: Preceptors should have a desire to teach and be committed to learning preceptor teaching skills. They also should have a facility and panel of patients amenable to teaching the required curriculum.
Student characteristics: Students should be enthusiastic learners, engage with the practice and the community, and have characteristics such as a rural background and primary care interests “that make them candidates to be recruited into rural practice,” declared the researchers.
Community support: Communities should help provide student housing and get students actively involved in community activities by inviting them to events.
Institutional support: Academic institutions should offer preceptor development, mindfully match preceptors and students, use structured curriculum and evaluations, provide regular communications, and offer “benefits that make the preceptor role feasible,” wrote the authors.