Impact of an interprofessional rural health care practice education experience on students and communities
The Interprofessional Rural Program of British Columbia (IRPBC) was established in 2003 as a pilot program aimed at supporting the recruitment of health and human service professionals to rural communities in British Columbia, Canada. The program was designed to expose students in the health and human service professions to rural communities and to assess whether this exposure increased the likelihood of their return to work in nonurban settings once they completed their studies. The initial qualitative evaluation of IRPBC was conducted via individual interviews in the first year and written questionnaires in the second year. In general, IRPBC was perceived by the participants to have had a significant impact on the students and communities. The students who participated in it benefited not only from the chance to engage in rural practice but also from the opportunity to interact within an interprofessional context; and the communities participating in the program profited from enhanced health care and the possibility of attracting new practitioners from these students. Exposure to new ways of providing service and the impact that the introduction of teams of passionate students can have on both practitioners and small communities have greatly enriched the broader communities.
PubMed URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18847107