, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 147-159
Date: 27 Jun 2013

‘I could never have learned this in a lecture’: transformative learning in rural health education

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Abstract

Health indicators for rural populations in Australia continue to lag behind those of urban populations and particularly for Indigenous populations who make up a large proportion of people living in rural and remote Australia. Preparation of health practitioners who are adequately prepared to face the ‘messy swamps’ of rural health practice is a growing challenge. This paper examines the process of learning among health science students from several health disciplines from five Western Australian universities during ‘Country Week’: a one-week intensive experiential interprofessional education program in rural Western Australia. The paper weaves together strands of transformative theory of learning with findings from staff and student reflections from Country Week to explore how facilitated learning in situ can work to produce practitioners better prepared for rural health practice.

This work was conducted while Sarah Prout worked at the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health, The University of Western Australia.