Background: We interviewed graduates from the first two cohorts of a postgraduate medical program that had a senior year longitudinal integrated clerkship (LIC) in a practice setting in rural New South Wales, Australia to determine how well their training prepared them to be junior doctors (3–4 years after graduation), and what aspects of that training they thought were particularly useful.
Methods: In-depth interviews.
Results: Fourteen junior doctors were interviewed. Participants reported feeling well prepared in ability to develop close relationships with clinical supervisors, good clinical and procedural skills, ability to work autonomously and work in teams, knowledge of health systems, ability to ensure self-care, and professionalism. Consensus view was that a rural placement was an excellent way to learn medicine for a variety of reasons including relationships with clinicians, less competition for access to patients, and opportunities to extend their clinical skills and act up to intern level.
Conclusion: The advantages we found in the training these junior doctors received which prepared them well for internship were integral both to the longitudinal, unstructured placement, and to the fact that it was carried out in a rural area. The two aspects of these placements appear to act synergistically, reinforcing the learning experience.