Undergraduate nursing students' experiences in a rural clinical placement

Sue Webster*, Violeta Lopez, Jane Allnut, Liesa Clague, Deborah Jones, Paul Bennett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: 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. Design: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-198
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Aboriginal community
  • Clinical placement
  • Nursing student
  • Rural health


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