An in-depth study of the lived experiences of students of health professions undertaking non-metropolitan placements has shown they rate highly the benefits of supportive staff and good interactions with local communities.
Factors impacting negatively on them included difficulties with accommodation, Internet access issues, the lack of transport and financial problems.
The study, Ruralization of students’ horizons: insights into Australian health professional students’ rural and remote placements, was conducted by researchers from various university Centres and Departments of Rural Health, including UCRH North Coast (Dr Sabrina Pit).
“Health workforce shortages have driven the Australian and other Western governments to invest in engaging more health professional students in rural and remote placements,” the authors said.
“The core concept identified from the thematic analysis was “ruralization of students’ horizons,” a construct representing the importance of preparing health professional students for practice in non-metropolitan locations.
“Ruralization embodies three interrelated themes, “preparation and support,” “rural or remote health experience,” and “rural lifestyle and socialization,” each of which includes multiple subthemes.”
They added: “The study findings have policy and practice implications for continuing to support students undertaking regional, rural, and remote placements and preparing them for future practice in non-metropolitan locations.”