Go Rural Virtually: Embracing Rural Placements Wrap Up

10 November 2022

2023 Grv Oct Blog Image

Go Rural Virtually (GRV) is an opportunity for health students to connect with health professionals through a virtual experience, by showcasing a topic, community, or health services that support Queensland’s rural communities.

The sixth instalment of GRV was held on Tuesday, 25 October and discussed Embracing Rural Placements with 62 health students joining us online.

Rural placement opportunities can transform students both personally and professionally, as well as create lifelong memories and connections.

Invited speakers, made up of Placement Coordinators, Placement Supervisors and students with rural placement experience, provided listeners with a detailed account of what’s involved in undertaking a rural placement. Alongside the benefits and the challenges, students learnt how best to prepare including managing their own, and others, expectations.Other important points made were that rural placements are fun; communities are welcoming and there are plenty of opportunities to make new friends and connections.

Maree Nichols, Senior Student Placement Coordinator at Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health in Mt Isa, began the discussion by talking about the opportunities a rural placement can bring to ensure students have both a well-rounded clinical experience and immersive community experience. Maree outlined the advantages of rural placements as access to a broader range of patients, treating diverse illnesses and conditions with hands-on learning opportunities. Additionally, students enjoy working one-on-one with their supervisors while incorporating interdisciplinary learning, as well as outreach opportunities.

Detailing her experience in working within Indigenous health communities, Christie-Anne Hunter from Southern Queensland Rural Health spoke about the different approaches required when working with Indigenous patients. “Taking the time to get to know the patient before beginning treatment can make an invaluable difference to the outcome” Christie-Anne said. Vidhu, a final year JCU medical student, added to the discussion by stating that “it’s very important to be open minded and be mindful of your own biases that you may not be aware of”.

Students and speakers were divided into discipline specific break out rooms to continue the conversations and ask questions regarding the expectations and challenges of rural placements.

Key discussion points in the event included: 

  • Placements improve your scope of practice and can give you access to multiple health care environments, including outreach and aged care.

  • Opportunities to take up local employment within the community whilst on placement.

  • Understanding how supportive communities and health professionals are toward students.

  • Being an active participant in patient health care, from history taking to suturing.

  • A considered discussion regarding the importance of observing cultural safety when working with Indigenous patients.

  • The advantages of taking an inter-professional collaborative approach to health in a rural setting.

We thank all speakers and students for contributing to this virtual experience, and hope that those who attended will go on to embrace rural placements as an opportunity to learn and make a difference in our rural communities.

If you missed the live event, you can view the recordings below:

Keep up to date with all of our upcoming Go Rural Virtually events and be a part of our virtual community, connect with peers, expand your professional network, and be inspired.