Evaluation of health service student programs in a primary health and culturally responsive framework: Service learning in Mt Magnet, Western Australia

Mrs Kathryn Fitzgerald1

1WA Centre For Rural Health, Geraldton, Australia


Allied Health students undertaking clinical placements with the WA Centre for Rural Health have the opportunity to live in the remote town of Mt Magnet for periods of 2 -14 weeks and work with community agencies, providing services to the community. Students in 2018 based in Mt Magnet include Exercise Physiology, Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy and Social Work.
Students work in the community, partnering in areas of under-represented services and community expressed need. Students participate in cultural orientation as well as practical sessions about clinical yarning prior to the placement and, in additional to clinical and interprofessional supervision, participate in regular cultural mentoring throughout their time in Mt Magnet.
The aim of this project is to evaluate the students’ work in terms of the services they provide in the context of culturally responsive practice as described in Indigenous Allied Health Australia’s Cultural Responsiveness in Action: An IAHA Framework (2015) within a framework of knowing, being and doing.
This project aims to evaluate services within the context of the IAHA key capabilities from the perspectives of the community agencies, community leaders, the students and clinical supervisors. Clients/ patients and family members will be invited to participate also.
This project is ongoing through to 2019 and the outcome will provide guidance on how to continue to develop service learning opportunities for allied health students clinical placements in rural and remote Australia.


Kathryn Fitzgerald has worked in rural and remote areas as an Allied Health professional in clinical practice, in policy and program development and in health professions’ education for over 30 years, and has been involved with SARRAH since the organisation’s early days. She currently works as the Clinical Education Manager for the WA Centre for Rural Health based in the Midwest of Western Australia.

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