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BNZ Rural Development Scholarship

We are delighted to announce that the BNZ Rural Development Scholarship has been awarded to Samantha Menzes for the upcoming summer break. Samantha is at the end of her third year medical training, and holds a bachelors degree in Nursing and one in Public health, a Post graduate diploma in Health Policy, and is passionate about becoming a rural GP in the future. She has been involved as a volunteer in Hauora Taiwhenua trips to rural high schools to promote health careers to rural students and kura Kaupapa students.

The research she intends to undertake is vital to the ability of GPs and other health professionals being able to work, while simultaneously living and having partnerships, in rural communities.

Brief Synopsis: Living and working as a health professional in a rural setting involves overlapping roles. One role is that of the health professional and the other role is that of community member. These overlapping roles are under-appreciated from the perspective of regulatory bodies and training institutions. Generally, an urban perspective is taken and the lived experience of the health professional not accounted for. Students are taught rigid professional boundaries and when they enter into rural health care settings they experience conflict regarding what they have been taught and what they see. The blurring of ethical boundaries is also challenging for rural health professionals who might be critcised by urban peers or organisations who do not understand the context of rural health care. Rural ethics are not taught in the undergraduate curriculum of health degrees in New Zealand, and there is limited literature on rural ethics internationally and none on rural ethics with a New Zealand focus. The lack of literature makes it problematic to determine acceptable practice in rural settings. Overcoming the ethical challenges of living and working in a rural area is one aspect of increasing the attraction of a rural health career.

Proposal: This proposal will develop a framework for understanding rural health care ethics from a New Zealand perspective. The project will involve a scoping literature review to assess what literature exists, to analyse the literature to create broad categories, and then to present a rural-focussed framework. The framework will be used to create an e-learning-based education module for health care students and health care professionals utilising vignettes to encourage reflection. Scoping outcomes will be shared with key organisations such as the Medical Council of New Zealand, Hauora Taiwhenua, and the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

Scholarship Background
The BNZ Rural Development Scholarship is open to any Year 5 or 6 medical students to support a 12-week elective and/or research placement within a rural community of the student’s choice.

A $5,000 Scholarship will be paid to the recipient (student) and is intended to be used to help cover living expenses, as well as provide some spending money during the 12 weeks elective/research placement.