Agricultural Medicine taught in rural generalist Vocational training in Queensland, Australia

Scott Kitchener, Kay Brumpton


Introdução: The agricultural workforce of Australia produces national food and fibre self-sufficiency. This workforce has notable and distinct health issues being the oldest of Australian industries, with the highest rates of work-related injury. The majority of farms in Australia are also family owned so that many families are in close proximity to agricultural industry.

Objetivos: Agricultural medicine is not taught as a distinct course in Australian medical training. Here we report on the delivery of an integrated agricultural medicine program within the rural medical education program in Queensland for vocational trainees in Rural Generalist Medicine.

Metodologia ou Descrição da Experiência: Inter-professional teaching is used over topics including agricultural industry briefings, epidemiology of agricultural health, occupational and environmental health in farming industries, agricultural respiratory disease and zoonoses. The key experiential training session is attending an operating farming property under the supervision and instruction of agricultural trade teachers and rural medical educators. Evaluation of the program over 3 years has been conducted using both Likert scales and free text comments of experiences were analyzed thematically. In the third iteration of the program, modifications were made based on evaluations, and re-evaluated.

Resultados: In 2011 and 2012, 56 learners reported on the model above. In 2013, a further 45 registrars attended a farm visit day improved based on previous evaluation though with the same learning aims and prologue classroom teaching. This program has been very well received by both the farmers and doctors. Discussions on agricultural medicine and a field day at a working farm were considered relevant, expanding learner knowledge and to have been well delivered. Learning objectives were reported as clear and met by the program; in addition to being relevant to these rural doctors.

Conclusão ou Hipóteses: Rural medical vocational education should include specific teaching and learning in Agricultural Medicine. It is possible to draw together topics in an organized program in various modes with direct exposure to farming environments. This is well received by doctors who recognize value in the theoretical and experiential nature of the program and consider it relevant to their practice and training.



Agricultural Medicine; Rural Generalist; Vocational Training

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