UWA Staff

MBBS year-one community placement program

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Further information



Seeing how health workers communicate in reality, not idealised scenarios. The interaction between doctors and patients - patients value and require that more than tangible stuff.

The Community Placement Program is part of the Foundations of Clinical Practice (FCP) unit for first-year medical students.

The Foundations of Clinical Practice unit provides a holistic view of health, particularly for vulnerable populations, for example:

  • those with a chronic illness or disability
  • migrants
  • refugees
  • Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders
  • the very young
  • the older person.

This unit also focuses on:

  • communication and interviewing skills in a health care setting; and
  • the role of community-based health agencies.

Aim and objectives

The aim of the Community Placement Program is to supplement classroom learning with opportunities to observe the way health professionals communicate and provide care for their clients/patients in a community setting.

The specific objectives are to:

  • increase students' knowledge of communication/consultation techniques used by health professionals;
  • increase students' knowledge of the role of different health professionals in various health care settings; and
  • improve students' understanding of people's experiences of ill health and the determinants of health and illness.

Because first-year medical students, clinical knowledge and skills are limited, the focus of the Community Placement Program is on observing the work of health professionals.

This may be in a range of settings, such as community clinics, schools, clients' homes, outpatient or agency-based programs.

It may also include health education and health promotion activities delivered in a one-to-one or group setting.

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What can students expect to do?

Students are placed with a health agency for a total of 12 to 15 hours, usually over a two-day period during the first semester.

During this time, students observe the work of health professionals in the work environment.

Report, presentation and evaluation survey

Following placement, students complete a community placement report based on their experiences and observation.

Students also give an oral presentation to their tutorial group and complete a short evaluation survey.

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