Flinders University Rural Clinical School offers short term and longitudinal clinical placements in health services throughout rural South Australia offering a rural curriculum in each year of the medical degree. The Parallel Rural Community Curriculum (PRCC) was established in 1997 as a means of contributing to Flinders Medical School's emphasis on providing educationally significant and rewarding experiences in rural medicine with students spending a whole year of their studies in rural General Practices and health services.
The PRCC offers the opportunity for selected students to undertake their entire Year 3 clinical curriculum in a rural community setting, principally attached to a General Practice, and individualized specialist consulting sessions are arranged for students to maximize their learning. This longitudinal integrated learning occurs in rural health care facilities, including hospitals, community outreach agencies, Aboriginal Medical Services, prisons and health centres. It is possible to undertake the entire 4th year in Mt Gambier. In 3rd year students live and learn in the four PRCC regions:
• Riverland (Renmark, Berri, Barmera, Loxton and Waikerie);
• Barossa Valley (Angaston, Tanunda, Kapunda, and Nuriootpa);
• South East of South Australia (Mount Gambier and Millicent), South Western Victoria (Hamilton);
• Adelaide Hills (Strathalbyn and Mount Barker), Murray Mallee (Murray Bridge and Mannum), Fleurieu region (Victor Harbor and Goolwa) and Kangaroo Island.
The longitudinal integrated clinical learning experience in the PRCC offers students the opportunity to actively participate in the care of patients over the whole year, thus gaining hands on experience of caring for patients with medical illness, understanding the patient's journey, and how it affects the family, workplace and community in which an individual lives.
Students in the PRCC are provided with high quality accommodation, a library and study room in their general practice, with a personal computer with Internet and email access. Through utilising distance educational technology such as video-conferencing, email, DVDs and regular Flinders staff visits, students have access to the excellent clinical experiences and medical expertise available, while at the same time having access to the resources of the FMC academic and clinical staff. The Gus Fraenkel Medical Library also has dedicated resources to enable prompt delivery of requested articles and assistance with literature searches etc.
The PRCC programs are supported in each site by a local senior lecturer, interprofessional educators and administrative staff. Structured teaching occurs through general practitioners in each town and through resident and visiting specialists.