Project Title

Combating the physician shortage in rural America by increasing early exposure to the medical field through the use of summer medical camps

Authors' Affiliations

William B. Roepke, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN Charles A. Edwards, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN Nicholas I. McIntire, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Location

Clinch Mtn

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

168

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Biomedical Sciences

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Andrew Berry

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Medical Student

Project's Category

Education or Instructional Programs, Health of Underserved Populations, Public Health, Rural Health, Other Healthcare, Other Education, Other Medical

Abstract Text

INTRODUCTION: The United States is currently experiencing a shortage of physicians that is projected to worsen substantially over the next decade. Rural regions are most affected by this shortage, with some statistics estimating that the physician-to-patient ratios reach 1 to 2500 in certain areas. While some measures have been taken to help combat this shortage, such as increases in medical school enrollment and the development of more residency training programs, additional interventions are needed that target rural regions specifically. One of the most powerful methods to improve this rural maldistribution of physicians is to make changes in medical education so that it trains and deploys more individuals who wish to practice in rural areas. The Quillen College of Medicine (QCOM) places tremendous focus on training rural physicians, with around 25% of students selecting an alternate educational curriculum that provides them with specific training in rural communities. To further QCOM’s commitment to improving rural healthcare, we hosted a no-cost, week-long camp for high school students. We specifically recruited students from the surrounding rural regions, as studies have demonstrated that students with rural origins are more likely to train in primary care and return to practice in rural areas. We hypothesize that earlier exposure to the medical field through summer camps is an effective method to increase the number of students from rural communities who wish to pursue careers in medicine. METHODS: The 2018 camp was held the week of June 4-8 and hosted 20 students from surrounding high schools. Throughout the week, the students engaged in a variety of fun and engaging activities that taught them about many important aspects of medicine such as proper patient care, communication skills, physical exam techniques, and critical thinking skills. We utilized both the Medical Simulation Lab and Standardized Patient Center at the Quillen College of Medicine, which allowed the students to interview, diagnose, and treat patients with various conditions in a simulated environment. Our objective was not to have the students accurately diagnose and treat the conditions, but rather to utilize teamwork, employ critical thinking skills, and enjoy doing it. Our data was collected pre- and post-surveys which contained closed-ended questions, Likert scales, and free-response questions. The surveys assessed demographic information, previous exposure to the medical field, interest in the medical field, and perceived potential obstacles in pursuing a career in medicine. RESULTS: Student feedback was positive overall. 65% of students stated they were more knowledgeable about the steps they needed to take to become a physician. 55% of participants reported an increased desire to pursue a career in healthcare. 45% of students reported an increased desire to become a physician. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that earlier medical exposure through summer camps is an effective method for increasing the number of students from rural East Tennessee who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. We believe that similar opportunities should be offered to a greater degree in other areas to help combat the physician shortage affecting rural regions nationwide.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Combating the physician shortage in rural America by increasing early exposure to the medical field through the use of summer medical camps

Clinch Mtn

INTRODUCTION: The United States is currently experiencing a shortage of physicians that is projected to worsen substantially over the next decade. Rural regions are most affected by this shortage, with some statistics estimating that the physician-to-patient ratios reach 1 to 2500 in certain areas. While some measures have been taken to help combat this shortage, such as increases in medical school enrollment and the development of more residency training programs, additional interventions are needed that target rural regions specifically. One of the most powerful methods to improve this rural maldistribution of physicians is to make changes in medical education so that it trains and deploys more individuals who wish to practice in rural areas. The Quillen College of Medicine (QCOM) places tremendous focus on training rural physicians, with around 25% of students selecting an alternate educational curriculum that provides them with specific training in rural communities. To further QCOM’s commitment to improving rural healthcare, we hosted a no-cost, week-long camp for high school students. We specifically recruited students from the surrounding rural regions, as studies have demonstrated that students with rural origins are more likely to train in primary care and return to practice in rural areas. We hypothesize that earlier exposure to the medical field through summer camps is an effective method to increase the number of students from rural communities who wish to pursue careers in medicine. METHODS: The 2018 camp was held the week of June 4-8 and hosted 20 students from surrounding high schools. Throughout the week, the students engaged in a variety of fun and engaging activities that taught them about many important aspects of medicine such as proper patient care, communication skills, physical exam techniques, and critical thinking skills. We utilized both the Medical Simulation Lab and Standardized Patient Center at the Quillen College of Medicine, which allowed the students to interview, diagnose, and treat patients with various conditions in a simulated environment. Our objective was not to have the students accurately diagnose and treat the conditions, but rather to utilize teamwork, employ critical thinking skills, and enjoy doing it. Our data was collected pre- and post-surveys which contained closed-ended questions, Likert scales, and free-response questions. The surveys assessed demographic information, previous exposure to the medical field, interest in the medical field, and perceived potential obstacles in pursuing a career in medicine. RESULTS: Student feedback was positive overall. 65% of students stated they were more knowledgeable about the steps they needed to take to become a physician. 55% of participants reported an increased desire to pursue a career in healthcare. 45% of students reported an increased desire to become a physician. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that earlier medical exposure through summer camps is an effective method for increasing the number of students from rural East Tennessee who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. We believe that similar opportunities should be offered to a greater degree in other areas to help combat the physician shortage affecting rural regions nationwide.