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Student Placement Models in Rural and Remote Settings

A rural and remote placement may need an innovative approach to address staff shortages, the amount of travel undertaken and the need to maintain a work-life balance. It is worth reviewing your placement goals and working out if there is a model that may facilitate a successful placement that meets a number of goals. 

What will you find on this page?

 

One Clinical Educator to One Student

This is the traditional model of student education where one student works closely with one Clinical Educator.

 Advantages

  • Individual
  • Guided attention for student
  • Department productivity minimally affected

 Disadvantages

  • Students are dependent on one educator for their learning requirements
  • Absence of peer and collaborative learning
  • Greater time commitment of educator (relative to other models)

 

Recommendations for implementing the model in a clinical practice

  • There needs to be adequate delegation of the Clinical Educator’s caseload to work colleagues and the supervised student

 

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One Clinical Educator to Multiple Students (2,3 or more)

This model of student education has a number of students being supervised by one Clinical Educator

 Advantages

  • Positive net effects on service delivery
  • More desirable to students
  • Creates a social network for students
  • Enhances clinical competence and independence
  • Facilitates active learning
  • Facilitates teamwork

 Disadvantages

  • Students’ concerns regarding adequate supervision
  • Model may not be applicable to all clinical areas (e.g. physical restriction on student numbers)
  • Compatibility of students
  • May encourage increased competitiveness between students
  • Increased organisational and administrative workload for supervisor

 

Recommendations for implementing the model in a clinical practice

  • Active facilitation of peer learning strategies by supervisor
  • Individual and collaborative clinical experiences need to be arranged for the students
  • Fair delegation of caseload and time between students

 

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Multiple Educators to One Student

In this model one student is supervised by multiple Clinical Educators either on the same site or across organisations

Advantages

  • Student exposure to multiple educators
  • Shared workload for educator
  • Increased placement provision capacity       

Disadvantages

  • Need for increased collaboration between staff for purposes of assessment and planning
  • Multiple educators can foster a sense of fragmentation amongst students

 

Recommendations for implementing the model in a clinical practice

  • Delineation of roles and distribution of normal workload between staff
  • Communication to reduce duplication of teaching content
  • Designate a Coordinator

 

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Peer Learning

Peer learning is ‘a learning process in which learners learn from their peers’ (Lincoln & McAllister, 1993, p18).

Advantages

  • Students’ teaching support skills developed
  • Students required to work at higher cognitive level and transfer learning to new situations

Disadvantages

  • May encourage excessive peer competition
  • No regulation or accuracy of information

Recommendations for implementing the model in a clinical practice

  • Preparation of the students as educators, including concepts of leadership, conflict management and principles of adult learning
  • Ongoing academic oversight to ensure consistency of approach and information dissemination
  • Mechanism for peer-tutors to debrief and clarify questions needs to be established

 

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) describes two different placement models that have been used in Mt Isa.

 

 

In this video Professor Barbara Dodd, Speech Pathologist, discusses an innovative student placement for a rural community that provides a service for the community. It is a collaborative model with one clinical educator supervising a group of students across different sites.

 

 

For further reading about models of student placement, refer to Placement Models and Approaches to Supervision.


References:

  • Jones, D. et al., (2011). Model for rural and remote speech pathology student placements: Using non-traditional sites and partnerships. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 19, 52-53.https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1584.2010.01177.x 
  • Lekkas et al., (2007). No model of clinical education for physiotherapy students is superior to another: a systematic review. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy,53, 19-28
  • Smith, T., Brown, L. & Cooper, R. (2009). A Multidisciplinary Model of Rural Allied Health Clinical-Academic Practice: A Case Study. Journal of Allied Health, 38 (4), 236 -241.
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