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Health professional studentsí rural placement satisfaction and rural practice intentions: a national cross-sectional survey


Smith, T and Sutton, K and Pit, S and Muyambi, K and Terry, D and Farthing, A and Courtney, C and Cross, M, Health professional students' rural placement satisfaction and rural practice intentions: a national cross-sectional survey, Australian Journal of Rural Health, 26, (1) pp. 26-32. ISSN 1038-5282 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2017 National Rural Health Alliance Inc

DOI: doi:10.1111/ajr.12375


Objective: The aim of this study was to profile students undertaking placements at University Departments of Rural Health (UDRHs) and investigate factors affecting studentsí satisfaction and intention to enter rural practice.

Design: Cross-sectional survey comprising 21 core questions used by all UDRHs.

Setting: Eleven UDRHs across Australia that support studentsí placements in regional, rural and remote locations.

Participants: Medical, nursing and allied health students who participated in UDRH placements between July 2014 and November 2015 and completed the questionnaire.

Main outcome measures: Key dependent variables were placement satisfaction and rural practice intention. Descriptive variables were age, gender, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) background, location of placement, healthcare discipline, year of study and type and length of placement.

Results: A total of 3328 students responded. The sample was predominantly female (79%), the mean age was 26.0 years and 1.8% identified as ATSI. Most placements (69%) were >2 but ≤12 weeks, 80% were in Modified Monash 3, 4 or 5 geographical locations. Public hospitals and community health made up 63% of placements. Students satisfied with their placement had 2.33 higher odds of rural practice intention. Those satisfied with Indigenous cultural training, workplace supervision, access to education resources and accommodation had higher odds of overall satisfaction and post-placement rural practice intention.

Conclusions: The majority of students were highly satisfied with their placement and the support provided by rural clinicians and the UDRHs. UDRHs are well placed to provide health professional students with highly satisfactory placements that foster rural practice intention.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:health workforce, recruitment, retention, student placement
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Specialist studies in education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Rural and remote area health
UTAS Author:Cross, M (Dr Merylin Cross)
ID Code:120276
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:46
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2017-08-18
Last Modified:2022-06-29

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