The Going Rural Health Newsletter
Edition 3 - August 2020

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.

With the lock-down of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, rural Victoria have realised how lucky they are at the moment to have low numbers of COVID-19 cases. Unfortunately, the lock-down and the Victorian-NSW border closure has had an adverse effect on border health services and their staff, and also impacts the ability of students to complete rural placements locally - though virtual placements are on the rise. Going Rural Health staff have developed many innovative virtual placements for allied health students, especially for final year students, which will allow them to graduate. 

In this month's edition:

New Going Rural Health team members

Going Rural Health student support and student survey

Student Virtual Event

The Going Rural Health Blog

Going Rural Health education

External education

EOI: Hume Region Health Conference 2021 Steering Committee

COVID-19 Training and Resources

Going Rural Health Website

Going Rural Health Virtual Placements

New Going Rural Health Team Members

Going Rural Health are happy to welcome new members to the team!

Both team members will eventually be working in our Shepparton office, but have begun with us working from home. While this is challenging, we are doing our best to make them feel part of the team.


The first team member works with the entire University Department of Rural Health (UDRH), but we are claiming her as one of our own. Johanna Kyriakou began in her role as UDRH Promotions Co-ordinator in late June, and she has really hit the ground running. She is promoting the work of Going Rural Health, and also the UDRH Research & Aboriginal Health teams. You can see some of her work already on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.


Our second new face is not exactly new to the university - he was one of our first ever Service Learning students back in 2015. Mitchell Dunn is a physiotherapist who has joined the team from GO TAFE only this week in the Shepparton Associate Lecturer, Rural Placement Co-ordinator role. All the best in your new role Mitch!

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. 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: 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. 

Student Virtual Event

Virtual Trivia Night - Tuesday 11th August

Please help us promote this FREE event for Going Rural Health students.

On Tuesday 11th August, 7 - 8pm, the University of Melbourne – Going Rural Health program and the Western Victoria Regional Training hub are hosting a free online trivia event for rural and regional students.  This is for any student studying medicine, allied health or nursing. There are great prizes to be won.

  • 1st place - $100 Coles/Myer gift card + $100 Lake View gift card
  • 2nd place - $100 Coles/Myer gift card
  • 3rd place - $50 Lake View gift card

The Trivia event will be hosted on Zoom with the participants using another device (i.e. phone or tablet) to submit their answers.  Households can join in and participate as a team or compete individually.

Student Trivia Flyer - 11th August

Registration is essential (maximum numbers apply) - Please register hereMore information is on the flyer attached above.

We hope to 'see' you there!

Zoe, Marisa & Trish

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 our Facebook page and tweeted on Twitter.

Navigating Online/Virtual Placements
Ensuring you are ABLE to thrive on your online placement.
Looking After Yourself on Rural Placements
Health professionals as a group don't look after themselves very well. Students studying to be health professionals are also under a lot of pressure, and doing a placement in a…
The Top 7 Reasons Students Love Rural Placements
Our Student Rural Placement Evaluation Survey has shown that students overwhelmingly love rural clinical placements.
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

This screenshot (see image above) is of a recent student virtual education session 'Making the most of feedback', facilitated by Cathy O'Brien. Students were from multiple education providers, doing a mix of placements types - some were at home doing virtual placements, others were placed at health services and schools in towns across the Hume region of Victoria. The multidisciplinary group included physiotherapy, OT, dietetics and nursing students.


Intermediate Supervision Workshop:  Two part series

Session 1 - Tuesday 11th August, 9.00-10.30am

Session 2 - Tuesday 18th August, 9.00-10.30am

This training provides some practical skills for allied health and nursing supervisors who have had some experience supervising students. Book via the Going Rural Health website here. Video conference details will be provided after booking.

For further information contact Cathy O'Brien at cathy.obrien@unimelb.edu.au


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

Trans & Gender Diverse Youth Inclusive Practice 101

13th August at 10am

Presented by Zoe Bell Gender Collective, this online 101 training session provides an in-depth understanding of the experiences of young trans and gender diverse people, the impacts of discrimination on health and wellbeing, respectful communication, gender affirmation, legal rights and responsibilities, and some basic inclusive practice principals and initiatives. The training includes a few activities to assist in developing practice wisdom. The session will run for 2.5 hours with a break.

Registration link: here.


Trans & Gender Diverse Youth Inclusive Practice 102

20th August at 10am

Presented by Zoe Bell Gender Collective, this 102 online training session provides an in-depth understanding of the experiences of young trans and gender diverse people in different contexts within the family, education, homelessness, sexual assault, accessing gender affirming care, including the impacts of pathologisation, and the Covid-19 crisis. The training includes a number of activities to assist in understanding and build upon the protective factors that support the health and wellbeing of young TGD people. The session will run for 2.5 hours with a break.

Registration link: here.


Three Rivers UDRH

Three Rivers UDRH supports health professionals, staff and students by offering free online courses. The following 2 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


Allied Health Paediatric Video Conference Series - August: 

Trauma Informed Practice in Paediatrics (Social Work Department)

Wednesday 12th August, 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



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/

EOI: Hume Region Health Conference 2021 Steering Committee

The North East and Goulburn Valley Allied Health Group and the Hume Region Nursing and Midwifery Education Group are seeking expressions of interest from health professionals to form a steering committee to guide delivery of the Hume Region Health Conference to be held either September or October 2021- venue yet to be determined.

For more information, please contact Cathy O'Brien cathy.o'brien@unimelb.edu.au

COVID-19 Training and Resources

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.


'Pursuit' Article - The Science Behind a Search For a COVID-19 Vaccine

This is a great article that unpacks the search for a COVID-19 vaccine in full detail. It explains the complex challenge of creating, testing and distributing a potential vaccine, in order to end the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Find the full article 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 now available

All three sessions have been recorded and are now available on the Department of Rural Health website https://medicine.unimelb.edu.au/school-structure/rural-health

Series 1 – Professor Shitij Kapur: 'Rural COVID-19 in Australia - What have we learnt about the virus and ourselves?'

Series 2 – Laureate Professor John Hattie: 'What we can learn from educating during the COVID-19 home schooling exercise'

Series 3 –Professor Lisa Phillips: 'Mental Health and dealing with COVID-19 in the rural setting' 


The Mobile Learning Unit – e-learning courses (free):

Compassion fatigue: the cost of caring

Clinician resilience during COVID-19

Going Rural Health Website


As discussed above, all our online education can now be found on the one page of our website, accessed via this link: online education

The Going Rural Health team undertakes a variety of research projects. A new Going Rural Health research page can be found on our website here.

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.

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.

Ballarat's Charmaine Swanson is working with Beaufort & Skipton Health Service to host virtual aged care allied health placements, to both assist and protect this at risk population during the pandemic.

Ballarat region virtual placement students participated in an online engagement activity in early July. Students received 'goodie' bags containing local produce, and participated in a Ballarat-themed quiz - by Zoom (below).

Three physiotherapy students are placed at Wangaratta/Falls Creek, for the joint Going Rural Health - Disability Wintersports Australia 'Snow Placement'. This placement continues to be adapted to align with COVID-19 requirements, with both face to face and virtual components. Psychology tutorials are planned to explore 'fear' re snow access in adaptive sports. Speech Pathology students will also commence at the end of August.

Two Occupational Therapy students have commenced at North East Regional Pre School Association (NERPSA) in Wangaratta, to expand upon the inter-generational kinder program implemented last term. Students will be online for 6 weeks & on-site for one week. Clinical supervision is via telepractice, operational supervision face to face & online. They are hoping to implement resources developed in the context of an identified pilot site.

Students have resumed on-site placements at Wangaratta District Specialist School, though are still being supervised via telepractice.


Virtual Placement Articles

Check out these articles in 'Partyline' - The National Rural Health Alliance publication - for articles by:

  • The director of our program, Professor Lisa Bourke, about placement innovation here.
  • Going Rural Health's Bec Oates, about adapting rural physiotherapy placements for COVID-19 here.

The Wangaratta Chronicle also has featured a story about the placements developed by Bec at Wangaratta District Specialist School. To read the story, see the image below.

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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