Page Divider Black Right

Preparing to Go Rural!

So you’re heading rural for your placement. How exciting! If you’re unfamiliar with where you are heading, it can be a little daunting. With prior preparation though, going rural may just be the time of your life.

Here are our tried and tested action items to check off before you go.

Page Divider Black Left

Find accommodation

Make an application for accommodation support as soon as your placement is confirmed as demand is high. See here for details of your accommodation and the facilities and equipment provided.

Read MoreLess

Make employment arrangements

Students on rural placements often gain casual or part-time employment while living in their area. We recommend contacting businesses in the area if you are seeking paid work.

Read MoreLess

Make arrangements for your family

If you have family that need looking after at home, make sure arrangements are in place for the length of your stay.

Read MoreLess

Make arrangements for your pets

Unfortunately, your furry friends are unable to stay in student accommodation, so make sure you have a plan in place for them to be cared for while you’re away.

Read MoreLess

Arrange how you are going to get there

Will you catch the bus, fly or drive to your location? Having access to a car during your rural placement is highly recommended, as public transport, Uber and taxis in some regional and rural communities can be limited or not available.

If you are driving:

  • Work out how long it will take to get there and if you need to arrive the day before your placement starts.
  • Before heading out on your journey to placement it is a good idea to have your car serviced and the water levels, oil levels, tyre pressure and tread checked. Make sure your car is equipped with a spare tyre and you know how to change it.
  • Pack snacks, lots of water and download podcasts or music for your trip as you may not always have phone reception on your trip.
  • In summer months, check prior to leaving that there are no bushfires or flooded roads on the way to, at, or near your destination. You may need to change your planned route. Remember, if it’s flooded – forget it. Find up to date road conditions here: Traffic Update & Road Closures - RACQ Traffic Report & Conditions
  • Watch for animals on the roads, especially at dawn and dusk – try to avoid driving at these times if possible. If you can’t avoid driving at these times, make sure you drive with caution.
  • Remember to stop for a break every two hours.
  • Make sure that a friend or family member is aware of your travel plans and let them know when you arrive at your destination.

Read MoreLess

Check your mobile coverage

Reception can be unreliable in some rural areas, and Wi-Fi is not always guaranteed. We recommend checking with your provider before you go. Some rural areas have student centres which offer Wi-Fi.

Read MoreLess

Research your placement location

Familiarise yourself with the area you will be living in to see what is available to you. Do a Google search to find out about population, climate, regional characteristics and local attractions. Think about your interests and what you would like to do in your down time. Look for student centres, tourist attractions, gyms, sporting clubs, shops, cinemas and more. Explore the outback through outdoor activities, hiking, bike trails and camping. Check out local Facebook pages for seasonal attractions and events such as races, rodeos and music festivals.

Read MoreLess

Research the health services available in your community

Consider your health needs and the services that will be available to you while on placement. It is a good idea to ensure you are up to date with prescriptions, GP appointments and/or specialists. Note that some rural pharmacies may not routinely stock your medication so have a full supply.

Read MoreLess

Research your placement organisation

Find out about your placement organisation. Does their website have student placement information? Is there pre-placement information to read? Who is your placement contact?

Contacting your supervisor before the placement starts is a good idea. Find out about work hours, dress code, facilities, other students who will be on site, what you need to take with you, and what is expected of you. Keep an eye out for emails from your placement provider and be prompt to reply. This is a great chance to make a good first impression.

Also save the phone number of your placement organisation in case you need to contact them.

Read MoreLess

Do a bulk shopping trip

Sometimes grocery items may be more expensive or specialist items won’t be available in some rural areas. Consider doing a shopping trip and take your favourite items with you, including medication.

Read MoreLess

Plan for your meals

  • Are meals provided and when?
  • Do you need to place orders for meals the day before?
  • How much do they cost (if getting lunch at hospital)?
  • Are special dietary needs catered for?

Read MoreLess

Refresh your cultural awareness

Refresh yourself on your cultural safety training as you prepare to work with people from all different backgrounds.

Check out this resource (here). https://healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/key-resources/health-professionals/cultural-safety-for-health-professionals/ or (email) our Clinical Educator (Indigenous Team) Lee Lingwoodock l.lingwoodock@uq.edu.au to chat.

Read MoreLess

Reach out to other students

Connect with other students who have been or are going on rural placement. Join any university placement online groups. Make friends before you go.

Read MoreLess

Seek support

There are plenty of support systems available for students going rural.

  • Our SQRH Clinical Educators in your discipline area and Student Support Coordinators are here to assist with your placement experience. Reach out to us to be put in touch.
  • The Country Universities Centres in Roma and St George and the SQRH facility in Charleville are available to support your studies while on placement. With study spaces, Wi-Fi, meeting rooms and more, these centres provide a cosy study place. These centres also have people and resources to assist you, as well as events for social connection.
  • When-the-Cowpat-hits-the-Windmill-June-2019-Update.pdf is a great resource to assist your mental wellbeing while on placement in a rural area.

Read MoreLess

Work out what you need to take with you

Does your accommodation provide cooking facilities, laundry, fridge, beds, linen, pillows, TV, microwave, crockery and cookware?

Read MoreLess

Plan to stay in touch with your family and social network

While your rural placement is bound to be a great time making new friends and experiencing new things, you may feel some homesickness. Missing friends and family is totally normal.

Ensure you have a plan to stay in touch with your family and friends. Consider making dates for phone calls or FaceTime sessions.

Read MoreLess