Rural physicians in Alberta identified access to special skills training and upgrading skills as an important practice requirement.
The Rural Physician Action Plan in Alberta developed an Enrichment Program to assist physicians practising in rural Alberta communities to upgrade their existing skills or gain new skills. The Enrichment Program aimed to provide a single point of entry to skills training that was individualized and based on the needs of rural physicians.
Two experienced rural physicians were engaged as "skills brokers" to help rural physicians requesting additional skills training or upgrading to find the training they required. Physicians interested in applying for the Enrichment Program consulted one of the brokers. Each applicant was assigned a preceptor. Preceptors confirmed learning objectives with trainees, provided the required training in keeping with agreed-upon learning objectives, and ensured trainees were evaluated at the end of the training.
The program has helped rural physicians upgrade their skills and gain new skills. More Alberta rural physicians are now able to pursue additional training and return to practise new skills in their rural and remote communities than in the past.
A local rendez-vous arrangement is described retrospectively in which the medical officer on duty at the infirmary, Oksbøl military camp participated in the ambulance service and the prehospital treatment of acutely ill patients. The military ambulance supports the civilian ambulance service in the municipality of Blåvandshuk, Western Jutland. This arrangement was carried out in 430 cases and 399 patients were brought to hospital. More than 14% of the services did not result in transportation. Forty-seven percent of the services were due to accidents and 30% to illness. In 16% of all cases the response-time was less than five minutes. All the patients were classified according to the Oksbøl-score. Injuries were diagnosed in 48% and cardiovascular disease in 19%. Sixty-seven percent were treated immediately by the military ambulance. This arrangement has improved the prehospital treatment of acutely ill patients by using pre-existing resources from a military camp. We propose further cooperation between civilian health authorities and the Danish Armed Forces' Health Services when planning the prehospital services.
Resuscitation and life support skills training comprises a significant proportion of continuing education programming for health professionals. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and attitudes of certified resuscitation providers toward the retention of resuscitation skills, regular skills updating, and methods for enhancing retention.
A mixed-methods, explanatory study design was undertaken utilizing focus groups and an online survey-questionnaire of rural and urban health care providers.
Rural providers reported less experience with real codes and lower abilities across a variety of resuscitation areas. Mock codes, practice with an instructor and a team, self-practice with a mannequin, and e-learning were popular methods for skills updating. Aspects of team performance that were felt to influence resuscitation performance included: discrepancies in skill levels, lack of communication, and team leaders not up to date on their skills. Confidence in resuscitation abilities was greatest after one had recently practiced or participated in an update or an effective debriefing session. Lowest confidence was reported when team members did not work well together, there was no clear leader of the resuscitation code, or if team members did not communicate.
The study findings highlight the importance of access to update methods for improving providers' confidence and abilities, and the need for emphasis on teamwork training in resuscitation. An eclectic approach combining methods may be the best strategy for addressing the needs of health professionals across various clinical departments and geographic locales.
The Symposium was held in Barcelona, Spain, with the Institut d'Estudis de la Salut acting as host. It gathered 51 participants working in 34 institutions based in 18 countries. The main objective of the Symposium was to create an opportunity for assessing the past trends and forecasting the future developments of health workforce within the various national health systems. The Symposium was composed of 5 sessions devoted to presentations of the papers freely contributed by the participants and 5 discussion sessions devoted to the following themes : (i) Supply of and demand for health workforce, (ii) Future trends and forecasting methods ; (iii) Strategies for managing and planning health workforce ; (iv) Health workforce in underserved areas; (v) International migration of health workers. Each discussion session was conducted by a discussion leader whose the synthesis report is displayed here below.
Access to education, communication, and support is essential for achieving and maintaining a skilled healthcare workforce. Delivering affordable and accessible continuing education for healthcare providers in rural, remote, and isolated First Nation communities is challenging due to barriers such as geography, isolation, costs, and staff shortages. The innovative use of technology, such as on-line courses and webinars, will be presented as a highly effective approach to increase access to continuing education for healthcare providers in these settings. A case study will be presented demonstrating how a national, not-for-profit health care organization has partnered with healthcare providers in these communities to support care at the local level through various technology-based knowledge exchange activities.
A physician shortage has been declared in both Canada and the United States. We sought to examine the migration pattern of Canadian-trained physicians to the United States, the contribution of this migration to the Canadian physician shortage and policy options in light of competing shortages in both countries.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the 2004 and 2006 American Medical Association Physician Masterfiles, the 2002 Area Resource File and data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Canadian Medical Association and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. We describe the migration pattern of Canadian medical school graduates to the United States, the number of Canadian-trained physicians in the United States in 2006, the proportion who were in active practice, the proportion who were practising in rural or underserved areas and the annual contribution of Canadian-trained physicians to the US physician workforce.
Two-thirds of the 12 040 Canadian-educated physicians living in the United States in 2006 were practising in direct patient care, 1023 in rural areas. About 186, or 1 in 9, Canadian-educated physicians from each graduating class joined the US physician workforce providing direct patient care. Canadian-educated physicians are more likely than US-educated physicians to practise in rural areas.
Minimizing emigration, and perhaps recruiting physicians to return to Canada, could reduce physician shortages, particularly in subspecialties and rural areas. In light of competing physician shortages, it will be important to consider policy options that reduce emigration, improve access to care and reduce reliance on physicians from developing countries.
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