Service learning placements occur in ‘real world’ settings and are equally concerned with student learning and in achieving service outcomes for host organisations and their clients. Students undertaking a service learning placement work to meet pre-identified community needs by providing a service or completing a project that would otherwise be unavailable to the community (Lyle et al., 2006). Students undertaking a service learning placement, have the opportunity to use their discipline specific knowledge, as well as to explore and better understand their professional and civic roles (Jones, 2015).

10 Facts about a Service Learning Placement;

  • Service learning develops relevant skills for professional behaviour (Anderson, Taylor et al)
  • Service learning placements have been proven to have a significant positive impact on health in local communities
  • Students in service learning placements have found their placement to be very rewarding as they see evidence of the impact of their work on the lives of people
  • Service learning placements develop students confidence as a health professional
  • Service learning placements have provided opportunities for students to contribute towards innovative healthcare delivery
  • Service learning placements have resulted in increased client satisfaction through student services (Kent & Keating, 2013)
  • The service learning model is widely used throughout a range of disciplines beyond health including engineering and education
  • Service learning placements form part of health curriculums throughout the world and allied health students partake in Service learning placements throughout Australia
  • Service learning placements are supported by quality supervision from experienced clinicians
  • Service learning placements can provide opportunities for inter professional work


Kent, F., & Keating, J. (2013). Patient outcomes from a student-led interprofessional clinic in primary care. J Interprof Care, 27(4), 336-338. doi:10.3109/13561820.2013.767226

Jones, D. (2015). Interprofessional Academic Service-Learning in Rural Australia: Exploring the impact on allied health student knowledge, skills, and practice. A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Practice-based Learning in Health and Social Care, 3(2), 1-16.

Lyle, D., Morris, J., Garne, D., Jones, D., Pitt, M., Walker, T., & Weston, R. (2006). Value adding through regional coordination of rural placements for all health disciplines: The Broken Hill experience. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 14(6), 244-248.

“Really good opportunity to develop independent work styles”
(Physiotherapy student)

“Would definitely recommend this placement to students in the future”
(Physiotherapy student)

“That the work was ‘real’, part of the day-to-day process of the team, means that the results you see applying teaching into a practical environment are legitimised”
(Social Work student)

“I have enjoyed working with other students and getting to see how life would be, working in a rural hospital and how sometimes you need to think outside the box”
(Physiotherapy student)

“Small community. Variety of caseload. Excellent supervision.   Regular constructive feedback.   Felt like part of the team”
(Physiotherapy student)

“The support of Going Rural Health during my first Occupational Therapy placement was really great. The team were really approachable with any queries that I had during my four-week block, offering assistance in any way possible. Having the support of Going Rural Health definitely made travelling and living from my home town a much easier experience”
(Occupational Therapy student)