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Rural general practice placements: alignment with the Australian Curriculum Framework for Junior Doctors

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As part of the strategy to meet growing workforce demands in the Australian medical system, medical student numbers have been increased. In 2014, 3108 students are expected to graduate — up from 1335 in 2006.1 This growth is associated with challenges for education and training systems, including shortfalls in clinical placements and in adequate supervision for students and junior doctors. The growth also presents an opportunity to redress the current workforce maldistribution, but it is unrealistic to rely solely on a “trickle-out effect” that assumes increased numbers will lead to more medical graduates practising in traditionally underserved areas.

Consideration of alternative training settings provides an opportunity to explore socially accountable approaches in learning objectives and curricula,2,3 provision of high-quality clinical experiences in underserved populations46 and expansion of training options in rural areas. To ensure that students and junior doctors currently training are appropriately equipped to practise in a range of underserved areas, a strategic approach among educators and…