News release

Providing Medical Students More Educational Opportunities in Rural Communities

Doctors often stay in the communities where they get their training. That is why a program designed to introduce medical students to what it is like to practise in rural Nova Scotia is expanding to the South Shore.

Starting this September, five medical school students from Dalhousie University will spend their entire third year getting hands-on training in Bridgewater, Lunenburg and Liverpool through the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship Program. Traditionally, third-year students do their clerkships with short placements in various communities.

“This program is a really effective way to show students what it’s like to practise in rural areas,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “We hope the early exposure to smaller communities on the South Shore will interest them in eventually building careers there.”

The medical students will gain community-based education under the supervision of local doctors during their 48-week clerkship. They will also work with other health-care providers in the community.

The Health Services Foundation of the South Shore, South Shore Regional Hospital Auxiliary and Queens General Hospital Foundation will provide funding to make necessary upgrades to both South Shore Regional and Queens General Hospitals to prepare for the clerkship program.

The clerkship program was first launched in September 2019 in Cape Breton, with four students training in North Sydney and New Waterford.

Government is investing about $130,000 in the South Shore program.

Quotes:

The continued investment by government in Nova Scotian longitudinal clerkships will provide Dalhousie Medical School students an excellent educational experience and expose them to 48 weeks of patient-centred, community-based care on the South Shore. Dr. David Anderson, dean, Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine

I’m excited to return to the area where I grew up and become involved in the community as a medical student and future physician. I chose the clerkship because of the educational experience and the ability to follow patients throughout the clerkship. I look forward to learning from physicians who live and practice medicine in rural communities, which I plan to do when I finish training. Emily Rogers, second year medical student doing clerkship in Bridgewater

The launch of the South Shore Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship would not be possible without the commitment of local physicians who are passionate about practising rural medicine. Our physicians value the merits of medical education and look forward to training future doctors. Dr. Gregory Thibodeau, site director, South Shore Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship

Quick Facts:

  • government is providing more training opportunities in rural areas through the clerkship program and the expansion of residency seats in rural Nova Scotia
  • the residency training program is an effective recruitment tool; for example, 21 of 29 residents who trained at the Annapolis Valley site from 2012-17, stayed to practise in the same or similar communities
  • the university’s goal is to have one third of its medical students take part in the clerkship program around the province, over the next four years
  • clerkships give students the opportunity to participate as part of the clinical team and begin to care for patients
  • four first-year medical seats were added to Dalhousie Medical School last August; 12 more will be added this August, for a total of 94 first-year seats
  • the local hospital foundations and auxiliary will contribute approximately $890,000 to create on-call sleep spaces at both South Shore Regional and Queens General Hospitals, which will also benefit physician recruitment and retention in the area

Additional Resources:

Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship Dalhousie: https://medicine.dal.ca/departments/core-units/DMNB/education/LICD.html

New Medical Student Clerkship Program Launches in New Waterford, North Sydney: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20190927001

Media Contacts:

Heather Fairbairn
Health and Wellness 902-717-2151 Email:
Jason Bremner
Dalhousie University Medical School 902-266-8896 Email: