Identifying features of quality in rural placements for health students: scoping review

BMJ Open. 2022 Apr 8;12(4):e057074. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-057074.


Objectives: To explore and synthesise the evidence relating to features of quality in rural health student placements.

Design: Scoping review.

Data sources: MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, ProQuest, Informit, Scopus, ERIC and several grey literature data sources (1 January 2005 to 13 October 2020).

Study selection: The review included peer-reviewed and grey literature from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development listed countries that focused on quality of health student placements in regional, rural and remote areas.

Data extraction: Data were extracted regarding the methodological and design characteristics of each data source, and the features suggested to contribute to student placement quality under five categories based on a work-integrated learning framework.

Results: Of 2866 resulting papers, 101 were included for data charting and content analysis. The literature was dominated by medicine and nursing student placement research. No literature explicitly defined quality in rural health student placements, although proxy indicators for quality such as satisfaction, positive experiences, overall effectiveness and perceived value were identified. Content analysis resulted in four overarching domains pertaining to features of rural health student placement quality: (1) learning and teaching in a rural context, (2) rural student placement characteristics, (3) key relationships and (4) required infrastructure.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that quality in rural health student placements hinges on contextually specific features. Further research is required to explore these findings and ways in which these features can be measured during rural health student placements.

Keywords: education & training (see medical education & training); health services administration & management; quality in health care.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Rural Health Services*
  • Rural Population
  • Students, Nursing*