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‘Going Up-North’: Chiropractic undergraduate clinical immersion placements in country Western Australia

Amorin-Woods, L., Losco, B. and Leach, M. (2018) ‘Going Up-North’: Chiropractic undergraduate clinical immersion placements in country Western Australia. In: 6th Rural and remote Health Scientific Symposium: Outback infront: 20 Years of rural remote health research, 11 - 12 April 2018, Hyatt Hotel, Canberra

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Aim: The aim of this study was to explore how clinical immersion placements (CIPs) in regional, rural and remote Western Australia impact undergraduate chiropractic student experience, attributes and employment destination.

Methods: Ten cohorts of students in their final year of five-year Australian chiropractic undergraduate programs had undertaken a placement in regional, rural or remote Western Australia. Students from five of those cohorts were invited to complete the Service Experience Questionnaire (SEQ) and open-ended reflective feedback (Part A). The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency/Chiropractic Board of Australia public register of chiropractors and the internet were also interrogated for data on graduate employment location (Part B).

Results: All (n=67) invited students participated in the Part A study. All students agreed that the placement experience was educational, and should be retained in the undergraduate curriculum. Students also agreed that the placement enhanced respect for the individual and awareness of others in need (94.1%), highlighted the importance of respect for all people (94%), improved empathy for the disadvantaged (88.1%), and provided them with an opportunity to improve their communication skills (98.5%). A majority (56.7%) indicated that as a result of their placement, they would be more likely to practice in a country setting. Further, those who participated in a placement were significantly more likely to practice in a regional, rural or remote location of Western Australia after graduation.

Conclusions: This study is the first in Australia to describe the extent to which CIPs impact the development of communication and interaction skills, social responsibility and a philosophy of caring in chiropractic students, and the decision to work in regional, rural or remote Australia. These results support the utility of clinical immersion placements to help meet the educational objectives of undergraduate chiropractic programs, and to address the mal-distribution of the chiropractic workforce in regional, rural and remote Australia.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Health Professions
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