Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 147–159 | Cite as

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

  • Sarah Prout
  • Ivan Lin
  • Barbara Nattabi
  • Charmaine Green
Article

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.

Keywords

Aboriginal people Australia Cultural security Experiential learning Rural health Situated learning Transformative learning 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of the communities in the Midwest without whom, Country Week would not be possible. We would also like to acknowledge the community teachers, the health professionals, the Shires staff and workers, and present and former staff at the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health, particularly Judy Riggs, Amanda Fowler of Edith Cowan University, and Simon Forrest from Curtin University for their pedagogical contributions to Country Week over the years.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Prout
    • 1
  • Ivan Lin
    • 2
  • Barbara Nattabi
    • 2
  • Charmaine Green
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Earth and EnvironmentThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Combined Universities Centre for Rural HealthThe University of Western AustraliaGeraldtonAustralia

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