Health professional education as community development: A Case report of lessons learned in rural Canada

Hope N Bilinski, Lois E Berry, Amy L Wright


The placement of nursing students in rural settings has a number of advantages. The exposure to rural practice provides opportunities for students to enhance their knowledge and challenge their perceptions relating to the unique characteristics of rural health and rural practice. In addition, students who take part in rural clinical placements are more likely to seek employment in these settings thus potentially contributing to recruitment of nurses for rural areas. There are limited reports on the development of effective and sustainable partnerships between rural communities and educational institutions. These partnerships can be innovative solutions for meeting the needs of educational institutions and rural communities.

The Community Based Capacity Building Model for Nursing Education was developed to illustrate the four phases that are essential for productive community partnerships that can be utilized in nursing education. The four phases of relation-
ship building, discovery, mentoring, and support are important components in the overall process and contribute signify-
cantly to the success in building and sustaining capacity for rural educational experiences. Each partner has a considerable role to play in each phase of the model. The overall aim is to utilize the strengths of the academic partner and the unique knowledge and expertise of rural nurses in the education of nursing students.

The Community Based Capacity Building Model provides a valuable framework for working with rural communities. The outcomes of progressing through the phases of the model include the shared commitment to the education of nursing students, the realization of the mutual benefits of the partnership, and the development of a sustainable partnership that supports the inclusion of rural clinical experiences for nursing students. Lessons learned included the emphasis placed on mutual understanding, recognition, and respect and the acknowledgement of the challenges inherent in rural settings and how these challenges impact rural clinical placements.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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