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Aust J Rural Health. 2010 Oct;18(5):194-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1584.2010.01153.x.

Undergraduate nursing students' experiences in a rural clinical placement.

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Australian Catholic University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



This paper draws on questionnaire findings and analysis of students' comments to demonstrate the aspects of rural placements that were effective in engaging students in the learning process. It also examined how a primary health care clinical placement in Aboriginal communities can provide nursing students with a rich and varied learning experience and an insight into the complex aspects of rural life including Aboriginal health.


A cohort of eight second-year nursing students from the Australian Catholic University, North Sydney, in partnership with the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health (BHUDRH), participated in a 4 weeks' rural placement in far western New South Wales. A pre-test/post-test questionnaire was used to capture their experiences with the students completing the questionnaires before and after their clinical placements. Such placements offer students opportunities to deepen their understanding of issues related to rural health in clinical, professional, social and community contexts.


The results suggest that clinical experience in rural areas can positively influence attitudes, preparedness for practice and engage students on many levels, deepened their understanding of rural communities and issues related to rural health.


This group of undergraduate nursing students indicated they all had a positive learning experience in their rural clinical placement. The value of rural placements as a method for increasing nursing student's practical experience should be promoted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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