Medical students will spend more time working alongside family doctors in an effort to help solve chronic GP shortages.
Under the initiative, 32 medical students from Aberdeen University will be given the chance to attend extra sessions within a GP practice, while also attending real call-outs.
Earlier this year, the Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland warned that the nation faced a shortfall of 856 family doctors by 2021.
Concerns have also been raised that the terms of a recently-revised GP contract with the Scottish Government could exacerbate the problem in rural areas.
The new Aberdeen University programme builds on other successful projects at the ancient institution, which have been aimed at encouraging medical students to focus on a career as a GP early in their studies.
For the past three years, a group of first year students have spent two days in locations such as Aviemore, Deeside and Orkney, speaking to those working in rural practices and seeing first-hand the benefits of living and working in the countryside.
Among the new features, students will have the opportunity to spend a 10-hour weekend shift with a GP or advanced nurse practitioner observing both hospital consults and home visits, and they will also spend time with residents of care homes throughout Aberdeen.
The students will spend whole days at specially identified “enhanced practices”, where they will meet patients and staff in the practice and receive specialised GP-delivered training on care in the community and clinical skills.
The course will continue throughout the five years of the degree.
Dr John McKeown, head of general practice and community medical education at Aberdeen University, said: “This is the widest range of ‘real life’ healthcare opportunities we’ve ever offered to our first year medical students.
“The idea behind the initiative is quite simple. We know that being a GP is a fantastically challenging and rewarding career and the sooner we can expose our students to this exciting vocation, the more likely they are to specialise in this area.
“The shortage of GPs is a huge problem with major implications for communities that will be felt nowhere more acutely than in the north of Scotland.
“Anything we can do to make clear the benefits of a career as a GP to our students has to be a step in the right direction.”