Archive | Innovation

Study: Rural Placements for UK Medical Students

It’s increasingly recognised that rural practice can offer undergraduate medical students excellent learning opportunities, with higher-than-average satisfaction compared with their urban counterparts.  There can be many reasons for this, not least that students are often forced into immersing themselves in the local community, as a rural placement will normally involve staying within the locality, instead of being able to return home from an urban practice which is normally easier to commute to.

Furthermore, there is good evidence that giving students a good experience of rural practice during the early stages of their careers, stimulates a considerable number of them to seriously consider taking up rural posts once more qualified.  That’s certainly the case in my experience, when a fulfilling 5 week placement at the Group Practice in Stornoway made me think more about rural general practice as a career option.

However, how rural practice is offered to undergraduates, is implemented in many different ways across the UK.  Of course, that is no bad thing, but we are starting to better understand the relationship between early student experiences and later career choice.

This piece of research from the IRH considers the rural practice opportunities for students at Keele University, and reports on some of the key findings from conversations with students who have benefitted from such placements.

>> Rural and Remote Health Journal – View Article.

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Tips for Teleconferencing

teleconferenceThe RCGP Rural Forum regularly uses teleconferencing to link up members from across the UK.  It saves money and time, and is particularly useful for rural practitioners who would have prohibitively long journeys out of their practice area to attend meetings.

Teleconferencing is widely used for other purposes too – and its use is likely to grow, especially as the technology becomes more widely available.  It’s already very easy to set up a teleconference via providers such as BT MeetMe.  Skype allows connected users to form a teleconference of up to 8 participants completely free.

However, what happens once you’ve got your teleconference set to go?  It can be easy to assume that it’s an easy thing to do, however without being able to see other participants, it can quickly become difficult to keep control of the agenda, and make for productive conversations.

Here’s two articles that help to explain the “etiquette” and some useful tips to bear in mind when having teleconferences.

Videoconferencing needs similar considerations, however we hope to run an article on the do’s and don’ts of VC in the near future.  If you’d like to contribute to this, please get in touch.

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Rural innovation by consultants in Scotland

bmareport

This month, the BMA have published an interesting report, highlighting some key innovative projects led by seventeen consultants around Scotland.

The report includes examples of innovations in rural & remote practice, particularly in terms of improving access to services by patients.

Of particular relevance to R&R practice are:

Dr Andrew Inglis – setting up the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service in the West of Scotland.

Dr Peter Terry – outreach O&G Services to the Orkney Islands.

Prof Andrew Sim – R&R surgical services – plus training for trainees who wish to focus specifically on rurally-important skills.

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Conference Focus: Clinical Skills Unit

skillunit3The Rural Forum are pleased to confirm that the Clinical Skills Unit will be in attendance at the RCGP Annual Conference, in Glasgow on November 5th-7th.  The unit comes in the form of an articulated lorry, containing a clinical environment where resuscitation and surgical procedures can be practised.

skillunit2

It carries an impressive range of simulation models, which can be controlled by a team concealed within a separate room, allowing adult and paediatric resuscitation scenarios to be played with maximum realism.  Models are available for CV and arterial line insertion.  Procedures such as cannulation, chest drain insertion and intubation are possible too.

skillunit1

The Unit, funded by NES (NHS Education Scotland) has already embarked on a tour of Scotland, with further dates and venues planned for the next few months, details of which are available from the website.  The Unit is a 2-year pilot project funded by NES – if you want to take a look, and think about booking a visit for your area, watch out for it at the conference.

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Feature Link: Centre for Rural Health

There’s always been a link to the Centre for Rural Health from this blog, but they’ve recently made some great improvements to their site.

The Centre is based in Aberdeen University, where there seems to be a lot of rural research going on – for health as well as other topics too.  Aberdeen is now home to one of 3 UK Rural Digital Economy Hubs. In April, the University was awarded £12.4 million to investigate how digital strategies can help enhance rural communities, including the potential benefits for healthcare.

You can see a full list of the Centre’s current research projects on their website.

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Scottish Centre for Telehealth Conference

All the presentations from February’s SCT conference are now available from here.  [Dec13 – sorry, link no longer active, presentations no longer appear to be available]

Topics include establishing where Scotland is at now with its telehealth strategy, managing long term conditions at home with telemedicine, clinical photography, dementia & telehealth, and involving communities in service redesign.

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NHS24 in Rural/Remote Areas

You may be aware of an excellent source of R&R research – Rural & Remote Health.   Thanks to Gordon Baird, who flagged up an interesting article into how the out-of-hours telephone service NHS24 (similar to NHS Direct in England & Wales) fares for remote & rural communities.  Direct link to the article (including PDF) here.

I’ve also added a new RSS bar on the left – this now links directly with the current contents of the European issue of R&RH.

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