Objective: To explore the influence of nonmetropolitan clinical immersion placements (CIPs) on undergraduate chiropractic student experience, professional attributes, and practice destination.
Methods: Students enrolled in an Australian undergraduate chiropractic program were invited to complete a service experience questionnaire and an open-ended reflective feedback form following a nonmetropolitan CIP (Part A). Online searches were performed to gather data on graduate practice location (Part B).
Results: Sixty-four students participated in Part A. All agreed that the placement was educational and should be retained in the program. Students agreed that the placement enhanced respect for individuals and awareness of others in need, highlighted the importance of respect for all people, improved empathy for the disadvantaged, and provided an opportunity to improve communication skills. Most indicated that they were more likely to practice in a country setting as a result of their placement, with those participating in a country placement more likely to practice in nonmetropolitan regions after graduation.
Conclusion: Many chiropractic programs around the world are adopting CIPs. This study is the 1st to investigate the possible influence of nonmetropolitan CIPs on the development of desirable attributes in Australian chiropractic students. It also discusses the potential influence of nonmetropolitan CIPs on future practice location decisions. These results support the utility of CIPs to help meet the educational objectives of chiropractic programs and possibly address the maldistribution of the chiropractic workforce in Australia.
Author keywords: Chiropractic, Clinical Clerkship, Curriculum, Educational Models, Rural Health Services, Students
Author affiliations: LGAW, BEL: School of Health Professions, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia; ML: Department of Rural Health, Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia
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