Objectives: To review the available literature regarding skills and competencies gained by junior doctors in rural and regional general practice placements and their alignment with the Australian Curriculum Framework for Junior Doctors (ACFJD).
Study design: A comprehensive literature review using a three-phase process. Articles were initially identified from database searches in OvidSP and Scopus. Additional information was obtained after a hand search of contents pages from relevant journals and from reports, conference abstracts and grey literature. Documented skills and procedures were mapped against the competencies from the ACFJD.
Data sources: We analysed 36 relevant articles written in English and published during 1997–2011. Articles referring to learning outcomes for junior doctors training with rural general practitioners were included.
Data synthesis: Evidence was available of the advantages of junior doctor rural general practice placements in gaining advanced skills in the areas of communication and professionalism, as well as developing autonomy in clinical management and decision making. Less evidence was available regarding exposure to particular clinical conditions and development of specific clinical skills.
Conclusion: Rural and regional general practice placements for junior doctors are likely to comply with the ACFJD requirements and, further, provide excellent learning opportunities in several domains of the curriculum. However, there was little research published confirming learning outcomes for junior doctors in rural general practice settings.
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