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Keywords:

  • rural clinical school;
  • rural newspaper

Abstract

Objective: To describe the way in which the rural press portrays a rural clinical school and its staff and students.

Design: Textual analysis of a collection of newspapers kept by the local campuses of the University of New South Wales Rural Clinical School (UNSW RCS).

The study: The UNSW established a RCS in January 2000. This study sampled a total of 225 articles from eleven rural newspapers, a collection held by the campuses of the rural clinical schools. The major themes of the articles were identified; the descriptive terms the newspaper articles used for medical students, the UNSW RCS and rural doctors were also identified. The way in which clinical schools, their staff and students, are portrayed in the rural press has the potential to influence recruitment and retention.

Conclusions: The study showed that the rural press was strongly supportive of the rural clinical school in their local region. This was particularly true for medical students, the school itself and the potential impact on workforce. The newspapers provided information for future students, depicting work-experience programs and current students. They were less illustrative of current medical and academic staff, with the exception of the Head of School.