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.
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, but also making extensive use of other rural health care facilities, including hospitals, community outreach agencies, Aboriginal Medical Services, prisons and health centers. Students live and learn in the four PRCC programs:
- Riverland (Renmark, Berri, Barmera, Loxton and Waikerie);
- Barossa Valley (Angaston, Tanunda, Kapunda, Clare 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).
The clinical learning experience in the PRCC offers students the opportunity to actively participate in the care of patients over the whole year, thus gaining first hand longitudinal experience of medical illness, its natural history, diagnosis, management, and how it affects the family, workplace and community in which an individual lives.
Students in the PRCC are provided with 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 at the same time as having access to the intellectual resources of the FMC staff. The Medical School 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/academic coordinator and administrative staff. Structured teaching occurs through General Practitioners in each town and through resident and visiting specialists.