University of Tasmania
139013 - Improving health student placement experiences in rural Tasmania.pdf (277.83 kB)

Improving health student placement experiences in rural Tasmania: The Whole of Community Facilitator model of support

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 14:23 authored by Sandra AstillSandra Astill, Zournazis, H, Annette MarlowAnnette Marlow
Health professionals require specific knowledge and a broad range of skills and attributes to work and reside in rural environments. It is important students are offered the opportunity to undertake a rural professional experience placement (PEP) to ensure they develop a breadth of understanding of healthcare practice with opportunities to apply for rural positions after graduation. More importantly, students should have a positive rural experience which extends beyond the placement. Past research identifies barriers to positive placement experiences relate to limited exposure to diverse practice environments and multidisciplinary learning opportunities for students and supervisors (Smith et al., 2017). To overcome these barriers the Whole of Community Facilitator (WOCF) model of support was conceptualised. It engages a dedicated health professional responsible for supporting students and supervisors, whilst also building capacity and capability of additional organisations to host students. The WOCF is an important communication link between the student, healthcare organisation and students' universities. This paper examines the project findings from stage one of the WOCF model implemented in fourteen locations throughout rural Tasmania. Overall, this model was well received by students, supervisors and organisations; particularly in the areas of student orientation, learning and teaching, support and guidance. However, the WOCF role requires further development to address competing work demands, time constraints and healthcare organisation requirements. Despite these limitations, the tripartite model offers healthcare organisations and supervisors opportunity to strengthen the preparation of the next generation of rural health practitioners. The outcomes of this study have relevance for other professions in rural settings, such as teaching.


Department of Health (Cth)


Publication title

Australian and International Journal of Rural Education








School of Natural Sciences


Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2020 The Australian and International Journal of Rural Education.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives