JAOA/AACOM Medical Education  |   September 2017
Self-efficacy of Osteopathic Medical Students in a Rural-Urban Underserved Pathway Program
Author Notes
  • Financial Disclosures: None reported. 
  • Support: None reported. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Sharon L. Casapulla, EdD, 126 Irvine Hall, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Athens, OH, 45701-2942. E-mail: casapull@ohio.edu
     
Article Information
Medical Education
JAOA/AACOM Medical Education   |   September 2017
Self-efficacy of Osteopathic Medical Students in a Rural-Urban Underserved Pathway Program
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 2017, Vol. 117, 577-585. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2017.112
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 2017, Vol. 117, 577-585. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2017.112
Abstract

Context: Self-efficacy has been shown to play a role in medical students’ choice of practice location. More physicians are needed in rural and urban underserved communities. Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine has a co-curricular training program in rural and urban underserved practice to address this shortage.

Objective: To assess whether participation in the co-curricular program in rural and urban underserved practice affects self-efficacy related to rural and underserved urban practice.

Methods: This cross-sectional study explored self-efficacy using Bandura's 5 sources of self-efficacy (vicarious learning, verbal persuasion, positive emotional arousal, negative emotional arousal, and performance accomplishments). A validated scale on self-efficacy for rural practice was expanded to include self-efficacy for urban underserved practice and e-mailed to all 707 medical students across 4 years of medical school. Composite rural and urban underserved self-efficacy scores were calculated. Scores from participants in the rural and urban underserved training program were compared with those who were not in the program.

Results: Data were obtained from 277 students. In the overall sample, students who indicated that they grew up in a rural community reported significantly higher rural self-efficacy scores than those who did not grow up in a rural community (F1,250=27.56, P<.001). Conversely, students who indicated that they grew up in a nonrural community reported significantly higher urban underserved self-efficacy scores than those who grew up in a rural community (F1,237=7.50, P=.007). The participants who stated primary care as their career interest (n=122) had higher rural self-efficacy scores than the participants who reported a preference for generalist specialties (general surgery, general psychiatry, and general obstetrics and gynecology) or other specialties (n=155) (F2,249=7.16, P=.001). Students who participated in the rural and urban underserved training program (n=49) reported higher rural self-efficacy scores (mean [SD], 21.06 [5.06]) than those who were not in the program (19.22 [4.22]) (t65=2.36; P=.022; equal variances not assumed). The weakest source of self-efficacy for rural practice in participants was vicarious experience. The weakest source of urban underserved self-efficacy was verbal persuasion.

Conclusion: Opportunities exist for strengthening weaker sources of self-efficacy for rural practice, including vicarious experience and verbal persuasion. The findings suggest a need for longitudinal research into self-efficacy and practice type interest in osteopathic medical students.

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