In the heart of the medical desert, a high school in the Lot offers a health option to create vocations

For two years, the Jean Lurçat high school in Saint-Céré has been offering its first and final year students an option to prepare them for health studies. Expected objective: to stop the medical desertification that the department is undergoing.

Born from an initiative of the community of communes Cauvaldor (Causses and Dordogne valley), the health option is full at Jean Lurçat high school in Saint-Céré (46). “This year we have 19 high school students from first and 13 from high school who are following it, rejoices David Auffray, SVT teacher and educational coordinator. For a small high school like ours, this is unexpected.”

Launched in 2021, the health option intends to fight against medical desertification suffered by the Lot department. As in many rural areas, “we lack doctors, specialists, but also paramedical professionals”, points out David Auffray.

Disciplinary reinforcement and methodology

At the rate of 2.5 hours per week in first and final year, high school students follow “courses in reinforcement in biology and chemistry“says the teacher. Reinforcement, but also deepening, according to Chiara, a high school student in her final year, who is delighted to be able to “go further than specialty courses”.

The school also offers visits to hospital services, trade fairs dedicated to health professions and interventions by professionals. The rest of the time is devoted to methodology workshops. “That’s what I preferred, says Chiara. We learned memorization techniques, stress management, which can be used everywhere, all the time!”

During their training, the students were able to visit the Toulouse SAMU. // © Causses and Dordogne Valley Community of Communes

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Preparing for the first year of health studies

Learn to learn. Enough to prepare for the rhythm of the PASS (specific health access route). Because the objective of the option is clear: to prepare high school students who are destined for these studies to face the first year, deemed to be trying.

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“Before, I was apprehensive about this first year, but since I took the health option classes, I feel well prepared“, confides Antonin, a high school student in the final year.

Chiara, who has been planning to study medicine since college, also feels that the option helps her in her project. “The program is between that of terminale and that of the PASS. It fascinates me so much that it comforts me in my choices.”

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Scientific profiles only

The two high school students followed the health option in first and continue in terminal. For it, they had to respect certain prerequisites: follow the three scientific specialties maths, physics-chemistry and SVT in first, then the specialties SVT, physics-chemistry and the option complementary maths in final.

“These criteria may change, but we based ourselves on the expectations of Parcoursup so that our students have the best chance of succeeding in health“says David Auffray.

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Encourage young doctors to settle in rural areas

The option is part of a set of larger devices from Cauvaldor for encourage young doctors to settle in the department.

Among these schemes, the “ParcoursM’aides” offers scholarships for medical students. In concrete terms, PASS students can benefit from an aid of 800 euros. Between the second and sixth year, a grant of 200 to 300 euros is offered to students who do their internship with a local doctor. Finally, from the seventh to the ninth year, a scholarship (from 2,500 to 5,000 € per year) is offered to those who undertake to carry out replacements in the territory or to settle there for a minimum of six years.

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It is difficult for the moment to estimate the effects of the creation of this health option on the installation of future doctors, but for David Auffray, the objective is to “arouse desire and ensure that students continue their studies in health”. A successful bet for Chiara and Antonin who are already planning to make PASS wishes next year.