BACKGROUND: Longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) have been shown to be effective educationally and may assist in promoting rural career choices when undertaken in rural communities. Despite these merits, some students find LICs challenging.
METHODS: Students from a regional medical school undertaking a LIC participated in semi-structured interviews. A template approach was used for analysis of the transcripts.
RESULTS: Thirteen students participated. Three major themes were identified: academic leadership, external (general practice) environment and intrinsic (student) factors. Optimally, a synergistic relationship between factors, facilitated by academic leadership, resulted in a sense of belonging.
DISCUSSION: Our findings support the concept that there is a highly dynamic interaction between factors determining the experience of students in the LIC. The individual nature of learners and the learning contexts require multi-level academic leadership.
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