Rural and Remote Health in Medical Education
The Rural and Remote Health in Medical Education (RRHIME) Track aims to increase the numbers of students and doctors practising in rural Wales and raise awareness amongst the GEM students of the benefits and realities of living and working in rural and remote areas.
Background and Context
Practice in rural, remote and underserved areas can offer varied and interesting benefits to a doctor’s career. However, these areas are often perceived as challenging environments in which to practise medicine and this perception contributes to difficulties recruiting doctors to such areas. This is a particular challenge for Wales, which has large rural areas and a shortage of speciality trainees and qualified doctors, particularly in some specialities. Research indicates that early and deep (‘immersive’) experience of rural healthcare by medical students and trainee doctors may facilitate their retention in the rural environment. There is also demonstrated value to teachers and preceptors of having medical students and trainees in rural practice.
The RRHIME Track
RRHIME (Rural and Remote Health in Medical Education) is a clearly defined Rural and Remote Health Track embedded throughout the GEM curriculum which allows selected students the opportunity to focus elements of their education on rural and remote health. A crucial, evidence-based element of RRHIME is that students experience more prolonged immersion in rural health environments and/or focused on rural and remote health issues. For RRHIME these include rural General Practice and District Hospitals, as well as rural secondary care in Aberystwyth and Haverfordwest. RRHIME students also take their 3rd year elective in a rural and remote area, typically overseas. Collaborative agreements have recently been developed with Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board to provide students with secondary care placements and we are in discussion with Brecon War Memorial hospital for the development of further opportunities. This is consistent with the GEM '6S' curriculum philosophy of situated learning.