Place based pedagogies in health professional education: a scoping review

Yann Guisard, Tagrid Yassine

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Rural background and extended rural placements have been shown to increase graduates’ intention to practice rurally. Place-based pedagogies and training therefore play an important role in addressing issues around workforce retention in rural and underserved areas. However, little is known about how place is conceptualised in health professional education, the extent to which place-based pedagogies are being adopted, and how these translate into curriculum. To investigate, we conducted a scoping review.

Scoping reviews are used to explore relatively understudied areas across the breadth of the literature in relevant fields. A search protocol was developed to guide the search process to ensure rigour. The ERIC, Medline and Scopus data bases were searched drawing on terms centering on place, curriculum and health education. Preliminary findings revealed an ambiguity in how place-based educational activities were described. A PRISMA diagram was developed to depict the search process. Of 2726 papers screened, only 14 studies met the inclusion criteria. Using a data extraction template, the collated information was thematically analysed .

Although not high in volume, the papers that were included offered conceptualisations of place, describe favourable conditions for place-based pedagogies, implementation opportunities and challenges, as well as suggestions regarding a future research agenda. Most studies were conducted in the global north, Canada in particular, and within the last decade. Interestingly, place-based curriculum activities were often opportunistic, rather than intentionally designed.

Despite its centrality to rural medical and health professions education and training, place is an elusive concept. Therefore, it is apparent that a further exploration of place-based pedagogies in health professional education is required in order to understand how this is woven into and experienced in the curriculum.

Take Home Messages
We propose that when implementing place-based pedagogies in health professional education, this must be done with intent, and ‘place’ must be actively defined and not passively assumed. The review demonstrated that in health professional education place is poorly conceptualised, and descriptions on how these conceptulisations are translated into the curriculum are scant. Place is complex, ‘messy’ and is not simply a geographical location. Alternate understandings of place offer further insight into what makes up place. These include ecological, socio-historical and political dimensions.


SeminarWestern NSW Health Research Network 2021 Research Symposia
Abbreviated titleWe are one, but we are so very many: exploring strength in rural diversity
OtherThe WHRN 2021 Research Symposia ran as a series of webinars on the following dates: Oct 26, Nov 10, Nov 25 and Dec 7.

The Western NSW Health Research Network (WHRN) either annual Research Symposia concludes on December 7 with an exciting awards ceremony announcing the Western NSW Researcher of the Year Awards researchers and the Research Symposia award winners.
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