1. I want to learn more about rural medicine. How can I get some experience working with rural patients and doctors?
All Year 3 medical students are strongly encouraged to participate in the Rural Family Practice Clerkship. During this four week clerkship, students will spend four weeks in a rurally-located medical office undertaking a “hands on” clinical experience under the supervision of a rural physician. To learn more about the Rural Family Practice Clerkship, please contact the UBC Department of Family Practice Undergraduate office.
2. I'm a third year medical student heading out for my rural clerkship. I’ve heard there’s funding to help me travel to my rural community. How do I apply for this funding?
The Rural Education Action Plan (REAP) provides travel bursaries for Year 3 medical students embarking on their Rural Family Practice Clerkship. A housing allowance (stipend) of $250 per week, as well as a travel bursary of up to $800, is provided to offset travel costs incurred by students during their rural participation. Students may also apply to extend their rural studies for up to four additional weeks, pending available funding. To learn more about REAP funding, contact the REAP office via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 604.827-1504.
3. Where do I find information about the rural community that I'm going to for my clerkship?
RCCbc has an online rural communities database that lists the amenities – both medical and non-medical – of many rural BC communities.
4. What kind of medicine will I see during my rural clerkship?
Students will spend much of their time in the medical office of rural preceptors. They will observe and participate in patient exams, and may also accompany their physician supervisors on hospital rounds where applicable.
5. I would like to extend my rural clerkship. How do I do that?
Year 3 students must apply to the UBC Department of Family Practice Undergraduate Office to extend their rural rotation. Once the extension has been approved, students should contact the REAP office to discuss available funding.
6. I want to do another rural rotation. How do I apply for a rural elective during Year 4?
To apply for a Year 4 elective rural rotation, please contact the UBC Department of Family Practice Undergraduate Office via email at email@example.com. Upon completion of your elective, you may apply for REAP funding to offset the travel costs. A housing allowance (stipend) of $250/week plus up to $800 for travel expenses is available. You may apply for REAP funds for up to 12 weeks of rural electives in 4th year.
7. I'm interested in learning more about rural medicine. How do I do this?
REAP hosts “Rural Nights,” bringing together medical students and residents with practicing rural physicians. These gatherings are a good opportunity for students and residents to learn about rural medical practice and to pose questions about the lifestyle of a rural doctor. The Rural Club also provides an opportunity for medical students and rural residents to integrate with rural faculty. The club, sponsored by REAP, is collaboration with the UBC Family Medicine Interest Group.
8. I'm interested in rural medicine and want to meet rural doctors. Can you introduce me to some?
Rural conferences are a great way to meet rural physicians from BC and across Canada. The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada hosts an annual “Rural and Remote Medicine Course” each year that is well attended by rural doctors from across the country. RCCbc hosts an annual gathering for BC’s rural physicians, the BC Rural Health Conference (RHC). We strongly recommend that medical students and residents wishing to network with rural doctors attend these conferences. REAP sponsors medical students and residents to attend national and provincial rural focused medical conferences each year. Students are selected from the UBC Family Medicine Interest Group meetings.
9. Are there any mentorship programs available for medical students?
The UBC Faculty of Medicine offers a mentorship and peer-support program for medical students. There are mentorship programs for each medical school (Vancouver-Fraser Medical Program, Island Medical Program, Northern Medical Program, Southern Medical Program). Each program is different; however, all programs work to establish collegiality and connection between program members.
10. I've heard that there’s a volunteer program where I can speak to rural high school students about a career in medicine. How can I get involved?
The Healthcare Travelling Roadshow is a UNBC initiative that brings together students from medicine, nursing, physiotherapy and social work. Each year, a group of students travels to a rural BC community and speaks with high school students about careers in health care. Students conduct presentations, do demonstrations, and answer questions. In return, students are given the opportunity to be hosted by a rural community and learn more about rural health care practices and the accompanying lifestyle.
The Roadshow is now being operated out of two regions: Northern BC and Interior BC. To learn more about how you can join the Travelling Roadshow, contact Dr. Sean Maurice for more information.
11. Do you have information I can give to rural high school students who want to learn more about a career in health care?
Yes – REAP has a multimedia presentation that can be given to high school students by rural doctors, residents and medical students. We strongly encourage practicing health professionals to educate rural high school students about careers in health care. There are many misconceptions about rural students not being able to successfully compete with urban students for seats in medical school – we would like rural high school students to hear from practitioners that they can become doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists and pharmacists. For more information about REAP’s High School Strategy, contact the REAP office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
12. What resources are available for medical students online?
UBC Department of Family Practice Undergraduate Program
UBC Faculty of MD Resources and Supports
Canadian Resident Matching System (CaRMS)
BC College of Family Physicians
College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)
College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC
Doctors of BC – benefits for medical students
Health Match BC
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