The Going Rural Health Newsletter
Edition 4 - September 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.

Regional and rural Victoria have had an increasing number of COVID clusters crop up, especially within the meat industry, challenging regional and rural health care services. The support from local communities though, by following restrictions and donning a mask, has been fantastic - reinforcing that we ARE all in this together.

Going Rural Health are also currently running a 'make your own mask' competition for students. Watch next month's newsletter for the winner!

The weather has been a little cold recently, especially for our team in Ballarat, where the first significant snow falls occurred in early August. Enough to make a small snowman - at least according to the kids of one of the Ballarat team!


In this month's edition:

Going Rural Health Online Student Q&A Series

Going Rural Health student support and student survey

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

Research Week 2020 - Webinar

Going Rural Health Website

Going Rural Health Virtual Placements

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. 

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.

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?

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…

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

Receiving Feedback (for students) - 14th September 3.30-4.30pm

This session is to help your knowledge and skills to improve the feedback you can receive from others. Reduce your anxiety around receiving feedback and develop ways to use and implement the feedback you receive.

To book, go to the website HERE.



Peer Assisted Learning Workshop - 15th September, 10am-12pm

With many placements being cancelled or postponed there will be increasing pressure to have more students in the future. Going Rural Health is holding a virtual 2 hr session, via zoom, on how multiple students can be supervised in a peer learning model. Discussions will include:

  • how you can plan for multiple students
  • how you can structure their placement
  • how to facilitate peer learning
  • how to reduce the workload on you as a supervisor, and
  • the challenges that you may experience.

Register via this link HERE.


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

Treating a health professional with mental health issues

Wednesday, 2nd September, 7.15-8.30pm

This webinar delivered by Mental Health Professionals' Network aims to discuss the importance of health professionals taking care of their mental health and seeking professional care when required.

Learning outcomes include tips and strategies for providing care to a health professional who is seeking care for their mental health, identifying ways of addressing privacy, stigma and discrimination of mental health issues among health professionals, and demonstrating the importance of collaboration and appropriate referrals when supporting a health professional seeking care for mental health concerns.

Click HERE to register.


Launch of 'WellMob'

The Australian Indigenous Health Info Net has just launched 'WellMob' - a social, emotional and cultural wellbeing online resources website for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For more information, visit the page 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 - September: 

Assessment and Management of Childhood Obesity (Department of Nutrition and Food Services)

Wednesday 16th September, 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



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

DRH Fun Night

33 people took part in the DRH Virtual Fun Night where staff, students (junior medical, dental, nursing & allied health) were invited to make vegetarian lasagna. The image above is Claire Demeo's creation, in Shepparton.

Virtual Trivia Night

The Western Victoria Regional Training Hub and Going Rural Health recently held a joint Virtual Trivia Night, hosted by XQuizIt. Nursing, allied health and medical students attended. Prizes for first, second and third place were awarded.

1st Prize was won by Indiana Cooper, a medical student of The University of Melbourne in Ballarat.

Thanks to all students who participated, and all of our wonderful partners who promoted this to students.

Make Your Own Mask Competition

Going Rural Health are running a 'Make Your Own Mask' competition on social media until the end of August. For terms and conditions, see the image below and the Going Rural Health Facebook page HERE. 


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. Details for the September webinars are below:


Education during COVID-19: A catalyst for change or a retreat to the safety of the past?

When: Tuesday 1st September 2020 - 5.30-6.30pm

Presented by: Professor Jim Watterson - Dean, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne

Bookings essential via the link HERE.

Professor Jim Watterston will provide an insight into the state of educational practice during this elongated COVID-19 period and will identify six key challenges that all schools should be currently considering in order to optimise their student performance and outcomes in a post pandemic world.

Building Personal & Community Resilience in the Face of COVID-19: What are the lessons from COVID-19 and how can we use them to build a better future?

When: Thursday 17th September, 2020 - 5.30-6.30pm

Presented by: Professor Brock Bastian, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne

Bookings essential via the link HERE.

Professor Brock Bastian will provide a review of his research on the role of pain and adversity in building personal and community resilience, and identify strategies that each of us can use during COVID-19 to lean into difficult experiences, allowing for the possibility of connection, meaning, and growth.


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.


'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: Series 1

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 & 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.


Student Placement COVID Study

The University Departments of Rural Health (UDRHs) across Australia are undertaking research to gain a better understanding, from a student perspective, of how COVID restrictions impacted student placements.  This will enable us to provide additional student support and policy input in the future.  Going Rural Health students are invited, via email, to participate and we appreciate students taking the time to complete this 10-15 minute 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 HERE.


Research Week 2020 - Webinar

Please join Northeast Health Wangaratta (NHW) and The University of Melbourne Rural Health Academic Network (RHAN) team for Research Week 2020 - celebrating and recognising the contribution of research to delivering innovative and evidence-based health care.

The keynote webinar will be presented by Matiu Bush, hosted and sponsored by the RHAN Director, Associate Professor Jennifer Weller-Newton.

Matiu founded One Good Street, a simple grassroots initiative harnessing the power of community to encourage neighbour initiated care for older residents at risk of social isolation and loneliness. Matiu was named one of the top 25 most influential people in the Australian Social sector by Probono in 2020. Matiu is the Clinical Lead for the mandatory quarantine of returned travellers in Victoria, part of the DHHS COVID-19 response and has a Master's degree in Public Health and broad clinical and managerial nursing experience, including working in Tijuana, Mexico with Nobel Prize Laureate Mother Teresa in international border aid.

When: September 8 at 11 am.

Topic: 'Wicked Problems and Disruptive Innovations'


Please register for the webinar HERE.

Contact research@nhw.org.au for further information.

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.

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 aged care allied health placements, to both assist and protect this at risk population during the pandemic.

Ballarat are also supporting virtual Occupational Therapy students working with homeless populations. 

The Going Rural Health team in Wangaratta are hosting 12 Occupational Therapy students virtually. The students are interviewing different Occupational Therapists to learn more about the rage of practice areas, and will be developing a promotional resource for us to showcase this, as well as commonalities in rural vs metro, and traditional vs non-traditional placement models. 

The joint Going Rural Health - Disability Wintersports Australia 'Snow Placement' at Falls Creek for physiotherapy students has been shifted to online format, in line with COVID-19 restrictions.

Occupational Therapy students are expanding on the previously developed inter-generational kinder program  by tailoring into a pilot site in the Wangaratta region. 

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

A Shepparton Primary School, how has been hosting Speech Pathology students locally for some time, is now hosting students virtually.


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 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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