The Rural Medicine Interest Longitudinal Mentorship introduces medical students and residents to the diverse and rewarding opportunities of rural medical practice in British Columbia. Students attend semi-monthly meetings to hear from and develop relationships with an array of guest speakers, including rural general practitioners and specialists, and discover the breadth of rural practice.
“The Rural Medicine Interest Longitudinal Mentorship is useful because it exposes students to the breadth of experiences that rural practice has to offer, while simultaneously offering specific information about aspects of medicine that are often neglected elsewhere, like finances, family, and lifestyle.”
Fostered mentorship relationships with medical students
During 2022-23, the Rural Medicine Interest Longitudinal Mentorship project continued building relationships with medical students and educating them about the benefits and opportunities of rural practice. To achieve this, the project held five evening sessions with medical students—all in-person. Each session consisted of a presentation on a universally relevant topic, followed by a question and answer session. These sessions helped build mentorship-style relationships with medical students and, in time, are expected to improve rural physician recruitment and retention.
Nurtured mentorship relationships between medical students and rural physicians
Two of the project’s sessions enabled the building of relationships with medical students and practicing rural physicians. Local rural physicians (a locum CCFP ER, GPA, and three physicians from Vanderhoof) ran two of the sessions, meeting the students and communicating their lived experience in rural practice. This helped broaden the students understanding of the diversity of rural practice, again, with the end goal of improving recruitment to rural communities.
Extended the program beyond the students in the Northern Medical Program
Once again, the project connected with the family medicine interest group from the Vancouver Fraser site. Dr. James Card had the opportunity to chair an information night with interested medical students and various rural physicians. As this relationship strengthens, the group is frequently in contact to help with other rural family practice ideas. In March 2023, they completed a weekend shadowing initiative with the project’s help setting them up with some preceptors. As this relationship grows it’s hoped that the geographical scope of the project will continue to expand. Ultimately this should help with a wider goal of rural physician recruitment.
Explore the Numbers
5 Presentation Sessions
In-person sessions for medical students centred around universally relevant topics included Q&A opportunities to help build mentorship-style relationships.
2 Rural Physician-led Sessions
Local rural physicians ran two of the sessions, meeting with students to share their lived experiences and how varied rural practice is.
Plans for the Future
During the 2023-24 project year, Dr. James Card has hopes to carry on with his current schedule. “As there are increased pressures on my time it emphasizes the importance of trying to find more partners with this work. The Northern Interior Rural Division of Family Practice has been observing many of these sessions and is potentially interested in taking on a larger role,” he said.
This year, he also plans to approach current and past family practice residents for ideas and possible participation within the Rural Medicine Interest Longitudinal Mentorship project.