Healthy, safe and effective international medical student electives: A systematic review and recommendations for program coordinators

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Abstract

Background: Thousands of medical students undertake international medical electives each year. These students face potentially substantial health and safety risks as well as educational and ethical challenges and therefore should undertake their electives within well-structured and coordinated programs. Methods: We conducted a qualitative systematic review based on a pre-determined protocol. Relevant publications and guidelines relating to international medical electives were identified through a review of the literature using on-line search engines, principally PubMed. We then conducted a systematic qualitative synthesis to extract relevant publications. Finally, the literature was organized according to themes, with the aim of developing a structured set of Recommendations for Implementation for program coordinators. Results: A wide range of important issues were identified which were categorized into seven themes upon which recommendations were made principally for the benefit of program coordinators: Responsibilities; General policies; Travel advisories; Occupational risk assessment; Funding & finances, Pre-departure training programs; and Post-return debriefing and screening. Conclusions: Recommendations for program coordinators on the health and safety of medical students while on international medical electives have been sourced from existing guidelines and relevant publications. There was considerable consensus from the literature and as such these synthesised recommendations could form the basis for internationally accepted standards for elective placement program coordinators.

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Watson, D. A., Cooling, N., & Woolley, I. J. (2019, April 3). Healthy, safe and effective international medical student electives: A systematic review and recommendations for program coordinators. Tropical Diseases, Travel Medicine and Vaccines. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40794-019-0081-0

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