The Going Rural Health Newsletter
Edition 10 - March 2021
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Welcome to Going Rural Health News! Going Rural Health News is the publication of new and relevant information about all things related to rural clinical placements, education and rural health, from the Going Rural Health team. Team members are located in Ballarat, Shepparton and Wangaratta.

It's been a busy start to the year, already with some ups and downs and changes on short notice, which has challenged health services, universities and students. All are continuing to plan for worst case scenarios, allowing placements to continue regardless of the situation with COVID-19, by continuing COVID-safe practices and/or ensuing placements have the ability to pivot to virtual where possible.

All of our education at the moment is planned to be virtual as well, with the added benefit that all sessions are available to all regions, meaning travel is not a barrier to accessing education. This includes cultural awareness training. Please see our website for details.

The new Extended Rural Immersion Clinic (ERiC) Physiotherapy placements have begun, and the Going Rural Intern Pharmacist (GRIP) Network has just had its first meeting on the 23rd of February. Our new NIGEL series has begun, and the call is out for mentors and mentees for our new Mentorship program,  ELEN - see the rest of the newsletter for more information.

In this month's edition:

Going Rural Health student support - including changes for 2021

NEW Going Rural Health Mentoring Program

Goulburn Valley Regional Training Hub

Mooroopna Schools Speech Pathology Program (MSSPP)

The Going Rural Health Blog

Going Rural Health education (includes NIGEL - NEW graduate education series)

External education & Resources

Going Rural Health and University Department of Rural Health (UDRH) Research

Going Rural Health Website

Going Rural Health Virtual Placements

Going Rural Health Student Support

Going Rural Health supports students to complete rural clinical placements. Support includes financial assistance, subsidised accommodation in selected areas, education, mentoring support, student activities, & cultural training.


2021 Changes

Financial Assistance: Eligible students may only receive EITHER subsidised accommodation at University of Melbourne owned housing (where available, subject to availability) or a financial payment for their placement (not both). Financial payment is calculated per day of attendance at placement.

Federation University students will no longer apply for their financial assistance from Going Rural Health via the Federation University Scholarships office, but via the Going Rural Health website. 

More information on the Going Rural Health Student Support Scheme, including how to apply, eligibility criteria and the full details of 2021 changes, is available HERE.


As always, we are trying to ensure that students get the best placement experience possible. Please help us to do this by directing students to complete our Student Placement Survey. It is a short online survey that should only take students 10-15 minutes to complete.

Looking after yourself while on a rural placement is more important than ever. See this Going Rural Health blog post for more information about what is available for students: Looking After Yourself on a Rural Placement. The post includes useful links, including to Going Rural Health's own online Resilience, Wellbeing and Self-Care education package. 

NEW Going Rural Health Mentorship Program - ELEN

The Going Rural Health Emerging Leaders Engagement Network (ELEN), is an exciting, new, & interdisciplinary career-development mentorship program, aimed at linking new graduate, early career, and intern rural health clinicians, with experienced and accomplished professionals working in country Victoria.


ELEN is currently actively recruiting for mentors and mentees to be involved in the program!

If you are a novice rural health practitioner interested in gaining insight into how to build your career in rural health, or ELEN’s next superstar mentor, then you are encouraged to register by emailing a short expression of interest detailing who you are, your professional background, and motivation to be a part of the program to: mitchell.dunn@unimelb.edu.au


For further information please see the attached documents below, or contact the program coordinator, Mitchell Dunn, on the email above.

ELEN Mentee Flyer

ELEN Mentor Flyer


Goulburn Valley Regional Training Hub (GVRTH)

The GV Regional Training Hub were delighted to host medical students, interns and doctors from Echuca Regional Health to a relaxed night of barefoot bowls this month. It was a great chance for those new to the area to get to know each other, and experience a little of the GV region.

Mooroopna Schools Speech Pathology Program (MSSPP)

Since starting in 2019, the MSSPP is expanding in 2021 to include two other primary schools and a kinder in Mooroopna, with the recent recruitment of a second speech pathologist at Mooroopna Primary School. The program aims to provide embedded speech pathology support to teachers and school students using a Response to Intervention model to address the oral language and literacy needs of the schools. This is complemented by the placement of university speech pathology students each school term.


The program is now becoming truly collaborative, with prep students across the three schools being screened by speech pathologists and students this term using the same assessment so that like-data can be collated and compared. The speech pathology team, supported with input from Going Rural Health, will be meeting regularly and planning together, as well as sharing resources.


A special thanks to Surabhi Budhiraja who has been the speech pathologist with the program since the outset, for all of her hard work and perseverance. Thanks also to Hayden Beaton at Mooroopna Park Primary School for taking the initial plunge and to the Greater Shepparton Foundation for their philanthropic support.


We look forward to the continued collaboration and positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

The Going Rural Health Blog

Did you know that Going Rural Health has a blog? The blog contains posts on relevant rural, rural health, student placement, and education topics. There are also posts about self-care, particularly relevant for students on rural placement, and while there are social isolation restrictions in place. Authors are Going Rural Health health professional staff, with the occasional guest blogger.

Our most recent blog posts can be accessed below. New blog posts are posted on our Facebook page and tweeted on Twitter.

Role Emerging Placements
Role Emerging Placements - Community service through student placements

A guide for practicing thankfulness amid uncertainty.

Student Perspectives of Rural Placements in 2020
Results of the 2020 Going Rural Health Student Rural Placement Survey + Advice for students in 2021

Zoom Bloopers & Etiquette
Cathy's Zoom Bloopers & Etiquette

Facebook Twitter
Going Rural Health Education

Online Going Rural Health Education

With the current caution preventing face to face education occurring, Going Rural Health have continued to provide education to staff and students via online education packages. See our online education page HERE for details.

Going Rural Health Education 2021

To our valued partners and educators:

Unfortunately as a result of the pressures COVID has placed on our budgets in 2020, we need to make some unprecedented changes to how the Going Rural Health Program provides educational support to our regions.

In 2021 GRH will need to charge a fee to any staff who attend our training workshops:

  • $30 for half day
  • $50 for half to full day (unless otherwise indicated)
  • Multiple days will incur the daily rate for each day of training (unless otherwise indicated) 

One hour sessions will continue to be free of charge. Fees will apply to staff participating in training, students will remain fully subsidised to attend training at no charge.

We appreciate this may make access to some training a challenge, please do not hesitate to contact the education team if you wish to discuss these changes further.


Virtual Education - March/April 2021


Receiving Feedback 

  • Friday 12th March
  • Monday 12th April
  • Tuesday 27th April


Self-Care for Students

  • Monday 1st March
  • Thursday 18th March
  • Tuesday 30th March
  • Thursday 1st April

All above sessions will be conducted 10.00am-1.00pm via zoom.

To register for any of these STUDENT workshops, visit the booking system HERE.



Introduction to Supervision Workshop

  • Thursday 29th April


Peer Assisted Learning Workshop

  • Friday 23rd April



  • Thursday 4th March
  • Thursday 22nd April

All above sessions will be conducted 10.00am-1.00pm via zoom.


Advanced Clinical Supervision in Regional Centres: A Short Course for Health Professionals

Run by EXCITE trained Going Rural Health educators, this course will be presented in two parts, virtually via zoom:

  • Session Part #1: Tuesday 16th March, 9am-12pm
  • Session Part #2: Tuesday 23rd March, 9am-12pm

Cost: $50 (valued at $395)

To register for any of the paid workshops above for STAFF, visit the Eventbrite booking system HERE.


Mentoring Community of Practice Workshop

  • Tuesday 2nd March
  • Tuesday 20th April

These are run 2.30-3.30pm via zoom.

To register for this free STAFF workshop, visit the booking system HERE.


Please contact the education team via the Going Rural Health email address: going-ruralhealth@unimelb.edu.au  for details of all education running in the virtual space, or to book a virtual session from the education list at Education topics.

New Interdisciplinary Graduate Education & Learning (NiGEL) Series

Going Rural Health have introduced a new FREE education series for graduates and early career health professionals in 2021 (see flyer below). This series will support new graduates and early career professionals develop their transferable skills and non-discipline-specific knowledge in health care. Sessions will be held monthly via Zoom.

For a printable PDF copy of the flyer below, click HERE.

Registration for sessions essential. Bookings are via the link on the flyer. Zoom connection details will be emailed to participants prior to the session. For more information contact:

Mitch Dunn mitchell.dunn@unimelb.edu.au or

Trish Thorpe trish.thorpe@unimelb.edu.au

External Education & Resources

National Allied Health Online Conference - Call for Abstracts 

The 14th National Allied Health Conference, to be held ONLINE for the first time, will give us the opportunity to explore and discuss the many factors that contribute to the overall success of Allied Health in Australia. There will be an exciting program of speakers, workshops, virtual exhibitors and lots of networking opportunities.

For more information visit the conference webpage HERE.


Allied Health Clinical Educators' Network (ACHEN) Roadshow

When: 8am-1pm, March 19th 2021

Where: Zoom (access via link HERE.  Password 848339)

Keynote Speakers: Prof. Carolyn Unsworth (Federation University) & Nick Petch (IMC AG)

Topics Include:

  • Clinical Reasoning
  • Innovative student placements
  • Group Supervision
  • Virtual Interactivity
  • Creating digital content
  • Transitioning to online learning
  • AHA Task force
  • Human-centred design

The event flyer is available here: ACHEN Roadshow 2021


Allied Health Paediatric Videoconference Series 2021


Topic: Introduction to Key Word Sign (Key word sign uses manual signs and natural gestures to support communication). Presented by Trudy van Meggelen, Speech Pathologist and Accredited Key Word Sign Presenter.

When: Tuesday 23rd March, 2021, 1-2pm

Book via the link HERE.



Topic: Eating Disorders in Adolescents. Presented by Dr Melissa Whitelaw - Senior Dietician & Stephanie Campbell - Clinical Nurse Consultant for Eating Disorders

When: Thursday 22nd April, 2021, 1-2pm

Book via the link HERE.


**NEW** Head to Help: A Free Mental Health Service For All Victorians

This is a service available through the Primary Health Network (PHN), for Victorians of any age experiencing mental ill-health - whether they have a GP mental health plan or not. The service is FREE, and no appointments are required.

Phone: 1800 595 212 8.30am - 5pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

For more details see the website HERE.

NOTE: This is NOT a crisis service.

For urgent support call Lifeline on 13 11 14

Out of hours and weekends call Beyond Blue on 1800 512 348.


**NEW** Yarning SafeNStrong - A New Counselling Service for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples

The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service has established Yarning SafeNStrong: a free and confidential counselling service for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The service is available 24 hours, 7 days a week to people and families who need to have a yarn with someone about their wellbeing.

Phone: 1800 959 563

For more information see the website HERE.


Three Rivers UDRH

Three Rivers UDRH supports health professionals, staff and students by offering free online courses. The following two courses are especially relevant:

Three Rivers UDRH Rural Clinical Placements – How to grow your own course .

Three Rivers UDRH Telehealth - Embracing Technology in Healthcare


Student telehealth placements resource

There is a great resource available from SARRAH about student telehealth placements. It is a copy of the presentation from a recent webinar. Access it via the link below:

SARRAH webinar student TH placements Robyn Gill


PHN resources

WestVic PHN and Murray PHN also have education available in regional and rural areas. See their websites for details of what is on in your region:

WestVic PHN: https://westvicphn.com.au/events-education/upcoming-events/

Murray PHN: https://www.murrayphn.org.au/events/

Going Rural Health & UDRH Research

The Going Rural Health program sits within the University Department of Rural Health (UDRH) of The University of Melbourne. The UDRH undertakes a number of research projects, some of which relate to student placements - from both the student perspective, and of those who support students (supervisors and placement support staff).


Student Placement Survey

As previously mentioned, Going Rural Health are trying to ensure that students get the best placement experience possible. Please help us to do this by directing students to complete our Student Placement Survey. It is a short online survey that should only take students 10-15 minutes to complete.


Supervisor & Placement Support Staff Survey

Going Rural Health are undertaking a research project to gain a better understanding of rural clinical placements, from the perspective of those who support students (supervisors and placement support staff). Many of you will have already received an email from one of the Going Rural Health team members to invite you to participate, and to encourage you to share the invite with your colleagues. Visit the Going Rural Health webpage HERE for more details.


Report Published - The Impact of COVID-19 on Student Rural Placements

Many thanks to the students who took the time to complete the online questionnaire sent to them when they had a scheduled placement in 2020.  Interviews were conducted with 29 students, randomly selected from those who volunteered at the end of the questionnaire, which 1505 students completed.  Students were drawn from University Departments of Rural Health across Australia, along with the research team.  Researchers are continuing to explore many aspects of the key findings.

The full report can be found HERE.


If you would like any further information on any of these projects, please contact the Going Rural Health team at going-ruralhealth@unimelb.edu.au .

Going Rural Health Website


All our resources for students and staff/supervisors can still be found in the student or staff menus. Please feel free to contact us at going-ruralhealth@unimelb.edu.au if you have any items to add or queries regarding content.

The website has a new videos page, that contains all videos relevant to student rural placements. Find the new page HERE.

Going Rural Health Virtual Placements

In 2021, Going Rural Health will be continuing to develop rural placements which may be delivered virtually, face to face, or a combination of the two modes, to allow for any changes to conditions that may occur due to COVID-19. This should mean that these placements will continue regardless of any lockdown measures that may need to be implemented by the Department of Health.

If you or your organisation have any ideas for these type of placements, and would like the assistance of Going Rural Health to develop them, please contact the team via email to discuss at going-ruralhealth@unimelb.edu.au

Contact Details

Newsletter: To subscribe or change your subscription, please click here.

If you would like to contribute to Going Rural Health news please email your contribution to trish.thorpe@unimelb.edu.au

Phone: (03) 8344 6791

Email: going-ruralhealth@unimelb.edu.au

Website: www.goingruralhealth.com.au 

Blog: https://goingruralhealth.com.au/going-rural-health-blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoingRuralHealth/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoingRuralHlth

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The University of Melbourne Department of Rural Health acknowledges the financial support provided by the Australian Government, through the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training program, for the Going Rural Health program.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which our campuses are located, pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Indigenous Australians.
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