Do Student Run Free Clinics Influence Chinese Medical Students’ Career Interests in Primary Care?
Background and Objectives: The Sunshine and Love Free Clinic (SLFC) was founded in 2010, and is currently only student-run free clinic (SRFC) in China. With China being only in the early stage of developing and promoting primary care nationally, SLFC serves as the earliest primary care model for the urban poor. It also is one of the only exposures to primary care for its medical student volunteers. The United States researches on the impact of volunteering at SRFCs have not shown a statistically significant impact on volunteers’ career choices. Our study explores the influence of volunteering at SLFC on student volunteers’ interest in primary care among Chinese medical students.
Methods: We surveyed 34 volunteers who have spent various length of time volunteering at SLFC regarding their interests in primary care before and after volunteering. We used chi-square to analyze the significance of this influence.
Results: 27 volunteers had an increase in their interests in choosing primary care, and 8 more students are considering primary care as a career than before volunteering. This is statistically important with a p<0.05.
Conclusions: SLFC is one of the earliest primary care clinic model for China’s urban poor, in the back ground of the absence of primary care in China. Volunteering at SLFC has a positively influence students to consider primary care as their future career paths. Promoting SRFCs nationally can be a good thing for the future of primary care in China.
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