Ruralization of students' horizons: insights into Australian health professional students' rural and remote placements

Smith, Tony, Cross, Merylin, Waller, Susan, Chambers, Helen, Farthing, Annie, Barraclough, Frances, Pit, Sabrina W., Sutton, Keith, Muyambi, Kuda, King, Stephanie, and Anderson, Jessie (2018) Ruralization of students' horizons: insights into Australian health professional students' rural and remote placements. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 11. pp. 85-97.

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Abstract

Introduction: 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 aim of this qualitative study was to provide an understanding of the lived experiences of students undertaking placements in various nonmetropolitan locations across Australia. In addition to providing their suggestions to improve rural placements, the study provides insight into factors contributing to positive and negative experiences that influence students' future rural practice intentions.

Methods: Responses to open-ended survey questions from 3,204 students from multiple health professions and universities were analyzed using two independent methods applied concurrently: manual thematic analysis and computerized content analysis using Leximancer software.

Results: 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 nonmetropolitan 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. From the content analysis, factors that promoted students' rural practice intentions were having a "positive" practice experience, interactions with "supportive staff," and interactions with the "community" in general. It was apparent that "difficulties," eg, with "accommodation," "Internet" access, "transport," and "financial" support, negatively impacted students' placement experience and rural practice intentions.

Conclusions: 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 nonmetropolitan locations. This study may, therefore, further inform ongoing strategies for improving rural placement experiences and enhancing rural health workforce recruitment, retention, and capacity building.

Item ID: 52733
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1178-2390
Keywords: clinical placement, fieldwork, multidisciplinary, practice placement, rural health workforce, undergraduate education
Copyright Information: © 2018 Smith et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms. php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).
Funders: Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2018 07:31
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130209 Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 50%
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