What is the survey about?

This study is being conducted by The University of Melbourne’s University Department of Rural Health. This is one of twelve University Departments of Rural Health across Australia. These departments have been funded to provide opportunities for students in medicine, nursing and allied health to develop their skills by promoting rural placements. As part of this funding, evaluation of these placements is necessary.

What is this research project about?

This project aims to collect information on the experiences of students who have undertaken a rural health placement which has been supported by the University of Melbourne. The project is funded by the University of Melbourne and has been approved by The University of Melbourne’s Human Research Ethics Committee.

This questionnaire asks about your experiences on your rural placement, including support, education, accommodation and other aspects. All answers are confidential

Who is conducting the project?

This project is being conducted by Associate Professor Lisa Bourke and Ms Joelene Mitchell from the University Department of Rural Health at The University of Melbourne, based in Shepparton, Wangaratta and Ballarat.

What am I being invited to do?

We are asking you to complete a questionnaire. We estimate that the questionnaire will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. You do not need to be a University of Melbourne student to participate. You do not need to answer every question and all information is anonymous and confidential.

What will happen to information being collected during the project?

All information gathered during this project will remain confidential and be kept in a secure location at The University of Melbourne for five years. The information will be used in three ways:

  1. Information gathered will be used by the University Department of Rural Health to report to the Commonwealth Department of Health on student placements and published in publicly available papers and reports on rural student placements. These reports will be available on our website for you to access in 6-12 months time.
  2. The data may also be used to provide feedback to placement providers every 12months. If 8 or more students have placements at one organisation, the placement provider will receive a report providing student feedback and areas for improvement. If numbers are low, any identifying information (such as discipline, gender, age, particular experiences, comments, etc.) will be removed. We will do our best to protect your anonymity but at small services with only a few students, there is some risk of identification but this will be months after your placement is complete.
  3. The data will also be shared anonymously with The Australian Rural health Education Network as part of a larger project evaluating students’ experiences of rural placements Australia-wide. Some of the questions in this survey are used by other University Departments of Rural Health across Australia.
  1. The data will be kept for five years and then destroyed.
Do I have to participate in the project?

Participation in this project is voluntary. Choosing not to participate in the project will have no bearing on any assessment of your placement. Your placement providers will not know whether you have participated or not. However, if you wish to apply for financial assistance, completion of this questionnaire is viewed favourably. If you choose not to participate, your application for financial assistance may not be accepted; this will depend on the number of students applying for the financial assistance available. This is because the University Department of Rural Health is funded to support placements and must report on these placements via evaluations.

What if I change my mind about participation?

If you decide to be involved in the project, and then later change your mind, you may withdraw up to three months later by contacting the researchers. You do not have to give any reason for not wanting to continue participating, and if you wish you may ask for any information which you have given to be destroyed.

Will I be identified in the results?

You will not be identified in any results reported from this project. If numbers are small, any identifying information will be removed.

Recontacting you

At the end of the questionnaire, we ask you to provide a contact detail so that the university can contact you in two years time. This is to ask you to participate in a long-term study tracking your career. This information will not be kept with your responses to the questionnaire. On the paper surveys, this page will be removed and kept separately. On the online surveys, this information goes directly to a separate database.

If you do give permission for us to re-contact you in two years time, we will then ask again for your permission prior to any data collection. You are only giving permission for us to use the contact details to ask you again for your participation.

What if I have any questions about this research?

If you have any questions about this project, feel free to contact Lisa on (03) 5823 4519 or at bourke@unimelb.edu.au, or Joelene on (03) 5720 1710.  You may also contact the Executive Officer, Human Research Ethics at the University of Melbourne on (03) 83442073 or via fax at (03) 93476739.  Please quote the Human Research Ethics Number (HREC 1442612.2).

How do I give consent to participate?

If you are willing to participate, please complete this questionnaire.  By completing the questionnaire, you are consenting to sharing this information for the purposes stated above.

Thank you for considering our request.  Your responses will assist in providing positive rural placements for health students in the future.