Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Rural Health Research

At Three Rivers UDRH research is a cross-cutting activity and we are committed to producing research that is innovative and rigorous and which responds to, and informs, both our work streams and critical rural health issues. The research we conduct will have regional significance for gaining an improved understanding of factors and contexts for building a rural health workforce and contribute to national and international scholarship and practice in this field.

We work closely with staff in other work streams: pathways into health professions; clinical education for health progressions; and promoting Indigenous health. We also collaborate with colleagues at Charles Sturt and our partner universities. The research team has skills and methodological expertise spanning qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

Our approach to research is guided by a participatory and collaborative ethos, and sensitive understanding of the barriers that can limit meaningful involvement in processes of research for many people in the community. We are therefore committed to facilitating the involvement of diverse stakeholders in processes of research, and ensuring that research findings are accessible to health professionals, academics and communities.

For more information about research at Three Rivers contact Professor Deborah Warr. We welcome opportunities to discuss your research needs and ideas for collaborations focusing on rural health issues across our regional footprint.

See below for information on current research initiatives and projects:

The Collaborative Research Partnership Scheme (CRoPS)

The CRoPS offers opportunities for Three Rivers UDRH to partner with community-based organisations involved on small to medium projects that can improve rural health outcomes. Partners will pool their expertise and the Three Rivers UDRH research team will provide support for research-related activities, including gaining ethical approval to conduct research (if required), collecting and analysing data and writing up findings.

Projects could address a range of topics and seek to:

  • Gain better understanding of community health priorities
  • Collect information to inform or pilot new health-related initiatives
  • Evaluate current initiatives
  • Improve Indigenous health outcomes

We also have a number of projects currently in developing and which will focus on supporting Indigenous students for success in health professions courses and a methodological project that explores ways of using geo-spatial techniques for mapping local needs and health workforce distribution across different types of rural settlements. Stay tuned for updates when we get going with these new projects.

Show us what it’s like – using images to explore students’ experiences of rural placements

This project will run from July to the end of the year and generate in-depth insights into biographical and practice-related factors that influence students’ experiences of clinical placements for Nursing, Dentistry and Allied Health courses.

The project uses a visual methodology and participants are asked to take a series of images at the start and end of their placements that best express how they are feeling. Interviews will be conducted to explore the significance of the images.

The MyPlacement Project: understanding students’ experiences of non-metropolitan clinical placements

Over 2018 and 2019 the Three Rivers University Department of Rural Health are asking health students to complete an online survey telling us about their placement experiences in areas outside of the major cities.

The MyPlacement Placement project will generate a better understanding of the circumstances and experiences of students doing rural clinical placements for Nursing, Dentistry and Allied Health course.

It is informed by national and international research that shows that a range of biographical and life-course circumstances can influence decisions about studying and working in rural settings.

These may be particularly relevant to students at CSU which has higher enrolments of students from low socioeconomic, rural-origin, first-in-family backgrounds. We are aiming to survey as many students doing clinical placements for Health Professions across our regional footprint.

The findings will inform Three Rivers activities and strategies for developing an effective rural career pipeline and better support students during their placements.

Who goes on rural health placements where? A case study of undergraduate health professions placements at a regional university

This project uses data linkage of internal CSU student data and geo-spatial mapping to examine the distribution of student placements within the health professions courses in terms of student socio-economic background and placement area characteristics. The project seeks to answer the following research questions:

  1. Which students are most likely to go away for rural placements and what student groups could be targeted for support for rural placement opportunities?
  2. Which rural areas have the highest number of placements and which areas could be better targeted for support for rural placement opportunities?