University Of Tasmania

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Hosting Virtual Orientation Tours of rural practice settings via the TCEN website

posted on 2023-05-25, 03:05 authored by Dorothy Cross
A project team from the University of Tasmania, Department of Rural Health comprising two nurses and two IT web developers utilised a grant from the Tasmanian Clinical Education Network (TCEN) to develop Virtual Orientation Tours (VTs) of rural and remote practice settings as a strategy to address the identified need to attract students to and better prepare them for rural placements. The aims of the project were to develop six to eight Virtual Orientation Tours (VTs) of rural and remote practice settings, have them hosted on the TCEN website and evaluate their merit as a strategy to: attract students from a range of health disciplines and education sectors to rural and remote placements; allay students’ pre-placement anxiety by demystifying the rural/remote context; and prepare students for rural and remote practice by increasing their awareness of the facilities, services, learning opportunities and resources available. The project extended the pilot work on virtual orientation tours previously undertaken through the HWA funded Distributed Simulation project (Dist Sim03). The research component of the project was approved by the Tasmanian Health and Medical Human Research Ethics Committee. Key Stakeholders were administrators and clinical educators at the 12 participating Rural Interprofessional Clinical Education Training Centres (RICTETCs) and/or Rural Health Teaching Sites (RHTS), the company developing the TCEN website (Digital Ink), TCEN, clinical education coordinators of health science programs and students that undertake clinical placement at a site for which a virtual tour was available or being developed. An action research process was adopted to engage participants as collaborative stakeholders and encourage their active input into the development of the VT of the organisation in which they were employed. Outcomes: The original four pilot VTs were refined and an additional eight VTs developed of rural health services in Tasmania in AGSC remoteness areas 3-5. The VTs were developed to be hosted on the TCEN website to maximise the reach of VTs to all health science students regardless of where they study or in what discipline. Accordingly, they were developed in consultation with the company managing the TCEN website. An evaluative framework was developed to enable outcomes to be monitored beyond the life of the project. This involved embedding metrics data and a student feedback survey into the website. A template was developed to promote transferability and sustainability and guide others interested in constructing VTs. The VT template addresses the three core components: photographic, web development and orientation to practice setting. The short timeframe of the project has precluded measuring the full extent to which project aims have been achieved. However, a website was established to test and trial the functionality and utility of the VTs and obtain feedback from key stakeholders. To date, feedback has been very positive and the notion of virtual orientation tours as a strategy to assist students prepare for placement has generated considerable interest and support both locally and interstate. A number of challenges have frustrated efforts to deliver all project outcomes within the short time-frame. For example: the TCEN website was undergoing concurrent re-development; significant staff turnover at some sites and; one of the RA5 organisations interested in participating was undergoing capital works. Notwithstanding these constraints, the products developed such as the VT template and evaluative framework have been designed to facilitate the model being applied more extensively and project outcomes being more fully evaluated into the future.


Commissioning body

Health Workforce Australia






School of Health Sciences


Health Workforce Australia

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Rural and remote area health

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania