Identifying features of quality in rural placements for health students: scoping review

Publication Name

BMJ Open


Objectives To explore and synthesise the evidence relating to features of quality in rural health student placements. Design Scoping review. Data sources MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, ProQuest, Informit, Scopus, ERIC and several grey literature data sources (1 January 2005 to 13 October 2020). Study selection The review included peer-reviewed and grey literature from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development listed countries that focused on quality of health student placements in regional, rural and remote areas. Data extraction Data were extracted regarding the methodological and design characteristics of each data source, and the features suggested to contribute to student placement quality under five categories based on a work-integrated learning framework. Results Of 2866 resulting papers, 101 were included for data charting and content analysis. The literature was dominated by medicine and nursing student placement research. No literature explicitly defined quality in rural health student placements, although proxy indicators for quality such as satisfaction, positive experiences, overall effectiveness and perceived value were identified. Content analysis resulted in four overarching domains pertaining to features of rural health student placement quality: (1) learning and teaching in a rural context, (2) rural student placement characteristics, (3) key relationships and (4) required infrastructure. Conclusion The findings suggest that quality in rural health student placements hinges on contextually specific features. Further research is required to explore these findings and ways in which these features can be measured during rural health student placements.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

Department of Health, Australian Government



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