The Going Rural Health Newsletter
Edition 5 - October 2020
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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.

Signs are good that we are finally coming out of the second wave of COVID-19. While some of the restriction requirements will probably be with us for a while, such as wearing masks, others are gradually being lessened, which is a welcome relief for local businesses and families. But we need to remain vigilant - social distancing, hand hygiene and minimising gathering numbers will keep us from a third wave. We don't want to end up in the situation faced by those who witnessed the influenza pandemic after the first world war (the so called 'Spanish Flu') - 4 waves was not unheard of.

Below is a picture of people wearing face masks in 1918 during the pandemic in California. It is interesting to see that mandatory mask wearing for the population is not unprecedented!

In this month's edition:

New Going Rural Health team member

Going Rural Health Online Student Q&A Series

Going Rural Health student support and student survey

Going Rural Health Innovative Placements Showcase

The Going Rural Health Blog

Going Rural Health Education

External education & Resources

Save Social Work Australia

Rural (Virtual) Social Events & Competitions

COVID-19 Events, Training and Resources

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

Going Rural Health Virtual Placements

New Going Rural Health Team Member

We welcomed another new team member in September!

Kylie Browne joined the team in our Wangaratta office, in the Associate Lecturer, Rural Placement Education role. Kylie is a registered nurse who has worked in education at health services and universities. It will be fantastic when we can finally meet in person. Welcome to the team Kylie! 

Going Rural Health Online Student Q&A Series

Going Rural Health introduces their online student Q&A series - ‘Real Talk’. UDRH Promotions Co-ordinator, Johnna Kyriakou, interviews Going Rural Health students about their rural placement experience and advice to future students. So far the series has been well received with over 1000 views and almost 9000 overall reach.

Visit our Facebook page for previous episodes, or tune in every fortnight for a new episode HERE.

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.

More information on the Going Rural Health Student Support Scheme 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 HERE. 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 at this time. See this Going Rural Health blog post for more information about what is available for students: HERE. The post includes useful links, including to Going Rural Health's own online Resilience, Wellbeing and Self-Care education package. 

Going Rural Health Innovative Placements Showcase


Going Rural Health will shortly be hosting a virtual 'Innovative Placements Showcase', where all can share details of the creative and different ways placements can be structured, and the benefits to local communities.

When: Monday 30th November, 10 - 11.30 am

If you have been part of any of these placements, or have students who may be able to contribute, please contact the Going Rural Health team. Registration details for attendees will follow soon.

The Going Rural Health Blog

Did you know that Going Rural Health now 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 Facebook and tweeted on Twitter.

Making Placements Happen
Making placements happen, even during a pandemic

The Laboratory & COVID-19
Behind the scenes in the pathology laboratory during a pandemic

Learning Culture & Growth Mindset
Exploring Carol Dweck's concept of Learning Culture & Growth Mindset, and her definitions of strength development.

Student Placements: Benefit or Burden?
How can you make placements beneficial for both students and the host organisation?

Going Rural Health Education

Online Going Rural Health Education

With the current restrictions in place preventing face to face education occurring, Going Rural Health have continued to provide education to staff and students via video conference, and have also recently added to our list of online education packages that are available. Links to the available Going Rural Health online education packages are below:

More online packages are currently in development and will become available over the coming months. See our online education page HERE for details.

Going Rural Health Virtual Education

Clinical Supervision for Rural Practice: A Short Course for Health Professionals

When: 28th October, 9am - 4pm

Join the Excellence in Clinical Teaching team from the Melbourne Medical School at The University of Melbourne for a stimulating and intensive full day advanced clinical supervision course. Designed to promote immediate improvements in clinical supervision quality and capacity. Facilitators are leaders in the field of health professions education and research, and will help to reinforce theory to practice application.

See flyer Advanced-Clinical-Supervision-via zoom for more details.


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.

External Education & Resources

CRANA Plus Webinars & Online Courses

CRANA Plus is committed to assisting rural and remote health care workers and students, and has courses and webinars available. For more information, visit their website HERE.


SARRAH September Aged Care Webinar: Australian Rural Aged Care Workforce: Precarity and Capacity

This webinar will present findings from a recent study led by Dr Sue Hodgkin in conjunction with aged care providers operating across a large rural part of Victoria. The webinar will focus on the impact of rural locations on care provision, and significantly on the capacity to maintain an appropriately skilled workforce. 

When: Tuesday 29 September 2pm AEST,

Free for all SARRAH members. Further information and tickets can be found HERE.


Course: Transform your Approach to Service Planning (and Introduction) - Dr Anna Moran

Have you got an idea for your allied health service but don't know where to start? Have you got a new service or model of care that you think could work better but are struggling to conceptualise it? Or perhaps you are planning to re-design parts of your rural allied health service or business but need some help to get started?

This is a 4 week online course with a mix of video content, readings, tasks to complete, and discussions with other participants.

When: Starts October 19th

For further information and to register, visit the event page HERE. 


SARRAH Telehealth Community of Practice

As remote working becomes the new norm, telehealth is more popular than ever. SARRAH is ready to support allied health professionals navigate telehealth. To find further info or join SARRAH's Telehealth Community of Practice, email sarrah@sarrah.org.au or visit their dedicated telehealth resource page HERE.


SARRAH 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


Allied Health and Nursing Education Outreach Program - Online Education Series:

Difficult Conversations and Child Wellbeing

  • Difficult conversation in Paediatrics     
  • Responding to violence and aggression in the paediatrics
  • Intimate partner (Family Violence) where children are involved

When: Tuesday 24th November 2020, 0900-1200

Free for all public health staff. For further information and bookings, visit this link: HERE.


Allied Health Paediatric Video Conference Series - October: 

What's New in Deformational Plagiocephaly? Prevention, natural history, assessment and treatment. (Physiotherapy and Prosthetic & Orthotics Departments)

When: Wednesday 7th October, 1-2pm

Any allied health professional, allied health assistant, nurse and general practitioner who are interested are welcome to attend. Please register your interest by emailing



Breathing Better - Acute Paediatric Respiratory Care Course (online): The RCH Allied Health and Nursing Education Outreach Program

When: Tuesday 17th November 2020, 9am-10:45am 

This online course will cover the nursing and physiotherapy considerations in the care of children with an acute respiratory illness. It will focus on children with various presentations of respiratory conditions and their acute management. A case study discussion will be highlighted.

The course is suited to any medical, nursing and allied health clinicians who are interested in expanding their knowledge on respiratory ward management and in particular, physiotherapists and nurses with developing respiratory experience.

See the course flyer HERE for more details and the Eventbrite registration link.

Please contact education.outreach@rch.org.au if you have any questions about this course.


RWAV Rural Allied Health Education Grant

RWAV Allied Health Education Grant supports allied health practitioners working in private practice in Victoria to access educational, professional and skill development opportunities that are relevant to the development and provision of rural health and meet the needs of the community. For more information, visit the RWAV website HERE.


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/

Save Social Work Australia

The proposed changes in Commonwealth contributions to many university courses, announced in June this year, will impact the fees students will have to pay to complete these degrees. While it is good news for those studying health related degrees in health faculties, as their fees will decrease, it is not good news for those studying degrees in non-health faculties.

Social Work, while listed as an Allied Health Discipline by the Australian Department of Health and Human Services, usually sits within university Social Science faculties, and as such has been misclassified under the proposed funding changes.

Social workers are in high demand and are already in short supply in regional and rural areas. These fee changes will in all likelihood reduce the number of students undertaking social work degrees, exacerbating this workforce shortage. 

Save Social Work Australia is petitioning for the Australian Government to re-classify Social Work as a health discipline in their proposed funding changes, and as such Going Rural Health are advocating for this change.

For more information, or to sign the petition, visit Save Social Work.

Rural (Virtual) Social Events & Competitions

Virtual Murder Mystery Night

The University of Melbourne Department of Rural Health (DRH) held a virtual 'Murder Mystery' night on the 2nd of September. DRH staff (pictured above) were the fantastic characters, and attendees asked questions to determine who the murderer was.

The mystery was interspersed by a 'Have You Been Paying Attention' type quiz, which was jointly won by Renee Cocks and Yusuf Hassan. Our overall winner on the night - who guessed the murderer correctly - was Alastair Weng. All winners receive a Coles Myer gift voucher.

It was a hilarious night. Thanks to all staff & students who participated. Well done to all of our winners!

Best Regional or Rural Placement Competition

Please promote this competition to your students! See details above for entry requirements. Winners will be announced in the November newsletter.


NOTE: Make Your Own Mask Competition

Unfortunately, there were no student entrants into this competition, so the prize will be held over for the next competition.

COVID-19 Events, Training and Resources

Free COVID-19 Public Webinars: Series 2

The University of Melbourne Department of Rural Health is committed to sharing health expertise with our communities to build their knowledge and resilience. In an attempt to make sense of what we are currently experiencing as a result of COVID-19, The Department of Rural Health has invited experts to share their knowledge. Keynote speakers will share their insights and offer solutions.

Bookings for Series 2 of the COVID-19 Public Webinar Series are now open. The two webinars in September were well attended, and recordings will soon be available. The next webinar is in November, please see below for details:


COVID-19: The Virus & Vaccines

When: Thursday November 5th 2020 - 5.30-6.30pm

Presented by: Professor Kanta Subbarao, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection & Immunity

Bookings essential via the link HERE.

Kanta is a virologist and physician with specialty training in infectious diseases. Her research is focused on newly emerging viral diseases of global importance including seasonal and pandemic influenza & SARS, and now COVID-19. She is involved in the study of immune response to infection and vaccination, development and preclinical and clinical evaluation of vaccines and evaluation of antiviral drugs. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she have been invited to sit on international panels on vaccine safety.

Professor Subbarao will provide an insight into this virus that has changed our lives in 2020 and share her knowledge on COVID-19 vaccines.


COVID-19 Resources - ACHSM 

A number of COVID-19 resources have been put together by the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM). These are continually updated, and include general resources, as well as those on prevention, treatment and diagnosis, to name a few. Find the most up to date resources HERE.


Short Courses: Well-being in the time of COVID

Resilience techniques for improving well-being, the second in the series of free online well-being short courses, is now available. These courses provide valuable life-skills to improve and maintain well-being even in the face of challenging life circumstances and cover mindfulness, resilience and behaviour change techniques.

Self-paced, free. Enrol HERE.


'Life Beyond Coronavirus'

Professor Shitij Kapur, FRCPC, PhD, FMedSci is Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Health) at the University of Melbourne. Professor Kapur hosts the series 'Life Beyond Coronavirus' with an impressive panel of specialists in their field. All recordings can be viewed at this link: Life Beyond Coronavirus

If you have any issues accessing these videos via the above link, they are available by searching for 'Life Beyond Coronavirus' on YouTube.


Free COVID-19 public webinars: recordings 

If you have missed any of the COVID-19 public webinars from Series 1 or 2, recordings will be available a short time afterwards on the Department of Rural Health website HERE.

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.


Has COVID-19 impacted your student placement?

Across Australia, University Departments of Rural Health (UDRHs) facilitate student placements in rural and remote communities.  Currently these 16 UDRHs are working together on a research project to gather the student perspective on how their placements may have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  This research will inform policy and support in the future.

Students who have a placement scheduled are invited, via email, to complete a short online questionnaire. 

The questionnaire is completely anonymous and asks about the placement.  Was the placement completed, postponed, shortened, changed?  Was student learning impacted?  Did students feel supported?  Has there been financial and wellbeing impacts?

To date, over 1200 students from across Australia have completed the online questionnaire.  At the end of the questionnaire students have an opportunity to volunteer to participate in an interview.  Researchers from across the different UDRHs are currently conducting interviews with students, who will remain anonymous, to gain an even greater understanding of the impacts from the student perspective.

Even if you don’t consider your placement was impacted by Covid-19, this information is valuable to the researchers and we encourage students to take the time to complete the questionnaire.


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. See the Going Rural Health website HERE for more details.


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 .


The Going Rural Health team undertakes a variety of research projects. A new Going Rural Health research page can be found on our website HEREResearch project reports can also be found on this page.


Interprofessional Communication in Rehabilitation Research Project

A physiotherapist and PhD student at the Department of Medical Education at The University of Melbourne is seeking participants from medicine, nursing and allied health disciplines with at least six months of experience working in inpatient rehabilitation to be involved in a research project. More information can be found HERE.

Going Rural Health Virtual Placements

Going Rural Health 'virtual placements' are still continuing, with many new placements being developed as the COVID-19 restrictions continue.

The Ballarat Going Rural Health team are working with Beaufort & Skipton Health Service to host virtual Physiotherapy students during the pandemic. Students provided telehealth services to individual clients, assessing them and developing a home program of recommended rehabilitation exercises. Check out a member of our team - 'Agnes Oldacre' (pictured below) - who has been treated by Physiotherapy students on these virtual placements via Telehealth. Agnes greatly appreciate their care and attention!

The Physiotherapy students also developed a number of exercise videos for staff to access to reduce musculoskeletal injuries.

The Going Rural Health team in Wangaratta hosted OT students virtually, supported by the rest of the team. The students interviewed different Occupational Therapists to learn more about the rage of practice areas, and developed a promotional resource for health services to use. 

A Shepparton Primary School is hosting Speech Pathology and Physiotherapy students virtually for the first time, assisted by Going Rural Health. Students are working with young children who may otherwise not have access to these services.

The team creating the majority of virtual placements has also had a journal article recently accepted for publication. Watch this space for details!

Please feel free to contact the Going Rural Health team about virtual placements by emailing


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

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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