“Facilitating remote student nurse placements in Central Australia – a wealth of experiences.”

Ms Emma Bugden1,2, Ms Jessie Anderson3

1Flinders University, Alice Springs, Australia,

2Menzies School of Health Research, Alice Springs, Australia

3Centre for Remote Health, ALICE SPRINGS


In response to the challenge of recruiting a nursing workforce to provide care in remote areas, more nursing students are being given the opportunity to experience this unique working environment through their Professional Experience Placements. Research into the decision making processes of new graduate health students regarding returning to practice in remote locations indicates that student perception of the placement experience is significant. This experience is shown to be impacted by the quality of supervision and support.

With large investments by the Commonwealth government, universities and other organisations such as CRANAplus aimed at encouraging students to undertake remote placements to increase the possibility they will choose to work in remote locations on graduation, it is essential that the quality of supervision is such that the experience for students is both positive and supported.

Barriers to this include a lack of qualified or available staff to facilitate student placements in person.  Many universities adopt a preceptor-led model of facilitation where the health facility staff are responsible for both the learning and assessment of the student. Flinders University aims where possible to provide a dedicated facilitator that is employed by the university.  With placement settings across the Northern Territory it is often necessary for facilitation to be provided using technology including telephone and video conferencing.

To outline the issues involved, this presentation will discuss the challenges and triumphs of providing meaningful and accurate facilitation to students in remote areas of the NT.  Approach and techniques utilised, challenges to communication and interaction encountered and the valuable and educational experiences some of these students have achieved will be included.


In 2017 Emma Bugden was awarded the Gayle Woodford scholarship and graduated with a High Achievement award from stage 3 of the Emerging Nurse Leader(ENL) program. She is the Chair of the ACN NT South region leadership group and a candidate for stage 4 of the ENL program in 2018.  Emma has worked in Central Australia for Flinders Uni, Menzies School of Health Research and the Alice Springs Hospital. Having raised two children, with has a background in nursing and ethics, she is committed to inspired leadership, effective and supportive management, building strong communities and rural and remote nursing practice.

Jessie Anderson, RN, BN (Hons), MNurs (Emerg)
Nursing Lecturer at the Centre for Remote Health, Flinders NT, Alice Springs.
Coordinator of RHMT supported Nursing placements in the Northern Territory.