A rural and remote placement can offer a number of unique learning experiences as there is exposure to a wide variety of clients and models of service delivery (inpatient, acute, outpatient, community, home based, outreach, telehealth, community health promotion). A placement in a rural and remote setting also provides opportunity for the student to develop self-reliance, autonomy, clinical initiative, flexibility and time management skills.

The National Rural Health Students’ Network (NRHSN) identifies a number of advantages to participating in a rural or remote placement that may not be available in metropolitan placements. They include:

  • exposure to a wide variety of tasks performed by rural health professionals
  • opportunity to develop a strong sense of teamwork and flexibility
  • ability to develop an increased skill set
  • chance to meet new people (professional and social)
  • a realistic understanding of rural health service provision and the skills required to work in a rural and remote location
  • a greater sense of confidence
  • increased skills and knowledge
  • a higher sense of autonomy and responsibility
  • ability to develop innovation and flexibility (in response to limited access to some equipment and resources)
  • opportunity to develop professional networks
  • opportunity to learn about different cultural groups and gain an understanding of cultural safety


It is important to identify the learning experiences that your practice setting can offer and discuss these with your student. This information will help the student understand the placement and identify learning goals that they can achieve.  



National Rural Health Students’ Network (2011). Rural Placements Guide How to make the most of your rural placement.



Reflection Activity: Unique experiences of a rural and remote placement

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