“ A student who is well prepared as to what to expect from a rural clinical placement, including a clear understanding of the placement goals and learning outcomes, is more likely to achieve a positive result” (Nancarrow, Moran, Lowe & Keane , 2013, p17).
Preparation and Orientation of students
It is important to adequately prepare a student for a rural and remote placement and this preparation should begin before the student leaves home. This section has resources that a student supervisor can use to identify the unique experiences their placement can offer, direct students to increase their knowledge about issues in rural and remote locations as well as a tutorial for students to help them prepare for their placement.
Once students are at the placement, it is necessary to orientate them to the service in which they will be working, the location and local facilities and the placement.
In this video, Sarah Jackson, Physiotherapist, Clinical Educator and North West Community Rehab Project Manager at the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICRRH) explains the orientation students receive on placement with MICCRH.
Student knowledge base
There may be specific topics that you would like the student to read prior to coming to placement. Make the student aware of these topics prior to placement so they can prepare.
The National Rural Health Alliance has published a number of fact sheets about issues relating to health and living in rural and remote areas (e.g. Eye and Vision in Rural Australia, Rural Schooling, Physical Activity in Rural Australia). The fact sheets are two pages long, easy to read and will help your student consider the issue in a rural context.
The Rural Health Education Foundation is an independent, not for profit organisation that delivers free health care education for healthcare teams in rural and remote areas. The website has a number of resources that the student can watch online, free DVDs that you can order (e.g. All Ears: Healthy Hearing in Indigenous Communities), and ‘learning guides’ that accompany some of the programs.
In a rural or remote clinical placement, it is possible that students will provide health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is important that the student is culturally competent and understanding of cultural safety. For further information, please refer to the Student preparation and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practice Contexts.
Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) also provide an online learning module 'Transition Toolkit to Rural and Remote Practice'. This module is designed for professionals starting work in a rural and remote workforce, but supervisors may also find that some of the module's content may support student preparedness for student placements in this setting.
Health Education and Training Institute (2013), Models of Excellence: Clinical Training in Regional, Rural and Remote NSW, (www.heti.nsw.gov.au).