The personalities of most medical students are suited to rural practice: Implications for rural education program recruitment

Diann S. Eley, C. Robert Cloninger, David V Power, Kathleen Dwyer Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: The success of rural longitudinal integrated clerkship (LIC) programs has contributed to our understanding of selecting and training students for rural practice. Studies have explored the personality traits of students who participate in rural LICs although few have compared them with classmates who have not. The purpose is to compare personalities of four successive cohorts of students in the LIC Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP) with their non-RPAP classmates. Methods: In a longitudinal cross-sectional design, medical students RPAP and non-RPAP, from 2013 to 2017 completed identical questionnaires comprising measures of personality, perfectionism, ambiguity tolerance, and resilience. T-tests, ANOVA, and post-hoc tests compared groups. K-means cluster analysis identified profiles of traits. Results: Total sample 286; RPAP = 128; non-RPAP = 158. Gender and age proportions were not different between groups. RPAP students were significantly lower in levels of perfectionism and higher in cooperativeness compared to non-RPAP classmates. Similar proportions of both groups were distributed across three personality profiles detected. Conclusions: Lower perfectionism implies advantages for rural practice. Nevertheless, similarities between groups suggest that most students would be successful in rural practice. More encouragement to all students may improve uptake of rural LICs. Greater attention to issues that affect decisions to explore rural medical education, particularly for our next generation of students, is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1160-1167
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 3 2019

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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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