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Community Rural Elective Development Opportunities (CREDO)

A Guide For Establishing and Maintaining Rural Medical Electives Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, 2001
This manual is a guide to creating,organizing and managing successful rural medical electives. It outlines important questions to ask and issues to consider. Whether your community has already hosted electives,or are trying for the first time,use this manual to direct your talent and energies. Learn from what other communities and partners have experienced. This book's basic format can be used as a springboard to create a rural medical elective appropriate for your community.

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From the Manual
What is an Elective?
An elective is a block of time during which students and residents can spend time in the clinical or research setting of their choice. This can occur as early as one year into medical school and as late as the month before they set up their own practice. Electives can last anywhere from one week to scvcral months.

Why Should Our Community Become Involved?
Traditionally, the lack of new physicians in many rural communities and the recruitment of replacements have been viewed as the responsibility of the current physicians and/or the local hospital. More and more. communities are recognizing that medical care is as important to the infrastructure of their community as schools and roads. The availability of quality health care affects everything from economic development to the well being of the population.By exposing medical students to the option of a career in rural medicine at an early stage in their education, they can acquire the knowledge, skills and desire to practice in a rural area upon completion of their training. Even if these students eventually remain in an urban area: they will bc better informed of issues specific to rural areas and patients, and the type of practice their rural colleagues will be facing.
“Where you grew up is one of
the best predictors of where
you will practice.�

Our Community Already Has Electives
If your community already participates in rural medical electives, this manual may assist with non-teaching aspects of the electives and/or assist in making it easier for the community to be involved. See Module 6.

How to Use this Manual
This workbook is designed for use by a committee working together to create and administer the elective. It could, however, be administered by a single person.

The manual bas been put together as a series of modules. Some modules are information oriented and will act as resources to everyone involved in the process. Other modules are action oriented, designed so that they can be divided among committee members.

In either case, this manual will provide you with the tools to create and manage a successful rural medical elective.

Summing it all up...
Planning a medical elective will be different for each community because different communities have different things to offer, in terms of both education and social experiences. This manual will help make your committee's job of creating and coordinating the elective in your community a little easier.
CREDO Manual Quick Start Guide

Step 1 - I Just Received the Workbook, Now What?
Start with reading through the first two modules. Module 1 explains the basics of medical education and the role of elective blocks. This is particularly important for those who do not work in health care. Module 2 outlines the model of elective creation that the CREDO workbook proposes and gives you an overview of the steps involved.

Step 2 - Form an Elective Committee
The CREDO workbook is based on the idea of a committee working together to create and manage an elective block. Module 2 reviews things to consider when putting together your committee. It is important that there is a physician involved; while not necessarily the physician who does the teaching, it should be one interested in the teaching process. We strongly recommend that at least one member of the committee be from outside health care (ie. physicians, hospital administrators or employees) to ensure that the student is exposed to the community outside the hospital. Equally important, the committee should haw a strong leader who will motivate and coordinate the committee members.

Step 3 - Take an Inventory
Module 3 (The Community Inventory) takes you through the process of determining what your community has to offer. While the relevance of the information may not seem important as you collect it, you’ll find yourself referring back to it as you work through other aspects of the manual.

Step 4 - Divide up the Work
The workbook is designed to have a number of stand-alone modules: however, all committee members should read modules 1 and 2. Most topics involve some advance planning as well as implementation once thc student arrives. Modules 4 - 9 outline various issues that your committee will need to work with. Feel free to make copies of the modules or lo remove them from the binder so each person can take their module home.

Step 5 - Find a Student
As you work through the modules. you‘ll find areas where you have a lot of work to do and other. areas where most of the work is already done. When you’re ready, start looking for students to experience what your community has to offer. Remember that most students start looking for an elective spot 3-6 months before they plan to go. Module 10 outlines how to attract a student to your community.

Step 6 - Be Patient
Interest in your community will come and go. Each university also has several elective blocks each year so interest may be focused on only 1 or 2 months a year. Once you’ve hosted a few successful electives, you’ll find that word of mouth will increase interest.

Step 7- Enjoy
Teaching is fun and students bring a breath of fresh air.

Step 8 - Evaluate and Say Thank You
Once you’ve hosted an elective, evaluate thc process. What have you learned? What will you different next time? What parts of the process will you keep? Don’t forget to say thank you and follow-up with the student - Module 13 can step you through this process.

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  • What a Medical Elective and Why My Community Host One?
  • Creating or Improving Medical Electives in Your Community 
  • Community Inventory & Profile
  • Nuts and Bolts - How Does an Elective Run?
  • Sleeping, Eating and Transportation 
  • Social Life and Family Considerations
  • Funding the Elective
  • What a Medical Elective and Why My Community Host One?
  • Creating or Improving Medical Electives in Your Community
  • Community Inventory & Profile
  • Nuts and Bolts - How Does an Elective Run?
  • Sleeping, Eating and Transportation 
  • Social Life and Family Considerations
  • Funding the Elective 

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CREDO Manuals @ $40 each = $
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Please make cheque payable to SRPC and mail to:
        Society of Rural Physicians of Canada  
        P. O. Box 893  Shawville, Québec
        Canada J0X 2Y0
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