A recent study noted that having a rural origin is a primary factor in medical students choosing to practice in rural areas. The study decided to turn that information around and ask what influences urban students to also choose rural.
“Determinants of an urban origin student choosing rural practice” used a scoping review of the literature, in contrast to a traditional systematic review. Out of these 17 studies, the following four factors that suggest why urban-origin medical students may choose rural practice were generated:
- geographic diffusion of physicians in response to economic forces such as debt repayment and financial incentives
- scope of practice and personal satisfaction
- undergraduate and postgraduate rural training
- premedical school mindset to practice rurally
The study concluded:
Urban-origin students may choose rural practice because of market forces as well as financial incentives. The participation in undergraduate and postgraduate rural training is reported to positively alter the attitude of urban-origin students. A small subset of these students has a predetermined mindset to practice rurally at the time of matriculation.
Obstacles for choosing a rural carrier include, but are not limited to lack of job and education opportunities for spouses/partners, lack of recreational and educational opportunities for children, and obscure opportunities for continuing medical education.