Online technology in rural health: Supporting students to overcome the tyranny of distance

Sharynne McLeod, Anita Barbara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine allied health students' perceptions of the usefulness of online chat as a support mechanism while on fieldwork. Design: Questionnaire. Setting: Fieldwork predominantly in rural allied health settings. Subjects: Ninety-seven students studying occupational therapy and speech pathology. Results: Students indicated that the major advantage of using online chat while on fieldwork placement was getting peer support (59%), gaining advice (22%) and having contact with the lecturer (15%). The majority of students indicated that they would like to have an online chat room for their next fieldwork placement (72%) and to use online chat when they were practising clinicians (57%). Although 95% of the students attempted to access online chat during their fieldwork placement, only 67% were actually able to participate. Students had difficulty accessing online chat through hospital and community health settings, so instead had to access it via local schools, homes, universities and libraries to use the technology. Conclusion: The use of online chat rooms was seen to be beneficial to encouraging peer support while on fieldwork for allied health students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-281
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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