Being a nursing or paramedic student in rural and regional Australia: profiles and challenges

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The Australian population continues to age, creating an ever-increasing reliance on health services and health workers. This ageing phenomenon is occurring even more rapidly in non-metropolitan areas. Like many other countries, there are acute shortages of health workers in rural and remote areas of Australia. Students who train in rural areas are more likely to work in rural areas upon graduation. Therefore, regional universities are the main stay for provision of new graduates to the rural health sector.These students have a more diverse demographic and educational profile than their metropolitan peers and enter university with identified risk factors for non-completion of their degree. New government-driven funding targets prioritise student retention more than ever before. Research efforts in the education sector are therefore being directed at understanding the changing nature of student cohorts and mediating risk factors to enable equal chances of student success. This chapter presents a case study of one student cohort (n=529) at a regional/rural multi-campus Australian university undertaken to characterise the nursing and paramedic students of regional, rural and remote Australia and identify the challenges facing non-metropolitan students. The findings reveal that a high proportion of enrolled students have more than one factor that has been identified with non-completion of tertiary study. The revelation of this study concerns determining how students entering the university with multiple risk factors do succeed given that statistical analysis indicates attrition should in fact be higher than recorded.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRural lifestyles, community well-being and social change
Subtitle of host publicationLessons from country Australia for global
EditorsAngela T Ragusa
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherBentham Science Publishers
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)9781608058020
ISBN (Print)9781608058037
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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