Supporting health students on rural placements: A scoping review

Cathy Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: To review Australian literature on initiatives used to provide support for pre-registration health students undertaking a rural placement. Design: A scoping literature review. Setting: Rural, regional and remote areas of Australia. Participants: Publications were sourced from scientific databases including Ebscohost and CINAHL. Grey literature and journal citations were searched to identify other relevant articles. Main outcome measure: Identification of the various initiatives used to support students, evaluation of the success of these initiatives, and the feasibility and sustainability of implementing these initiatives. Results: There were 36 articles included in the final analysis. The findings identified support initiatives specific to individual professions, not on supporting health students as a whole cohort. The key findings were grouped into identification of support initiatives and the alignment of these to students feeling a sense satisfaction, belonging and connectedness. Constraints to support health students undertaking rural placements identified disparity and inequity of support initiatives available for health students with medical students provided more support than other health students. Conclusion: This review highlights the importance of students developing a sense of belonging and building connections to community, which are strongly aligned with rural placements and student satisfaction. The need for socio-cultural, organisational and institutional support is linked to higher student satisfaction and intention to practice rurally. A centralised collation of support initiatives would benefit students, higher education institutions and stakeholders in their efforts to attract students to undertake rural placements and be immersed in these unique learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-331
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


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