Interprofessional Rural Program of BC


Why host health sciences students?

Students are an investment and a resource for your community.  When welcomed and supported, students contribute to:

  • Recruitment through profiling your community to emerging health professionals.
  • Partnerships with post-secondary education institutions.
  • Leadership, mentoring and continuing professional development for rural practitioners.
  • Enhanced service delivery through the ideas, energy and projects of students.
  • Health careers profiled to local youth.
  • Broadened awareness of rural health in the province, by exposing emerging health professionals to the unique opportunities, cultures and challenges of rural and Aboriginal communities.

What can rural communities do to provide quality learning for students?


  • Profile your community to schools/students e.g. on HSPnet, RCCbc website.
  • Offer student housing (at low or no cost) – housing should be easily accessible and comfortable and ideally available year round. It can be shared with locum staff and/or be billeting with a health professional/community member.
  • Identify a “coordinator” in your community to liaise with schools, preceptors and students, and ensure scheduling and logistics are in place.
  • Actively partner with your post-secondary education partners and build relationships.
  • Provide a welcoming environment!
    >  Contact student(s) in advance by phone or email to provide initial information and answer questions (what to expect, what to bring).
    > Make a good first impression (e.g. meet them at the airport, ensure they are settled into their accommodation, orient them to the community and health services).
  • Engage the broader community. Some ideas:
    > Invite the major or community reps to meet the student(s).
    > Host a BBQ or luncheon.
    > Provide a free pass to a local activity.
    > Post student bios on the hospital or clinic’s bulletin boards.
    > Post student bios on the hospital or clinic’s bulletin boards.
  • Invest in your preceptors! – provide opportunities for orientation, dialogue across professions, and ways to recognize/thank those who preceptor students.
  • Facilitate a range of learning and community activities for your students and engage them formally and informally in experiencing your community and health services.  Interprofessional learning activities might include shadowing other disciplines, case conferencing, interprofessional rounds, community projects, chronic disease management group sessions, other. Some of the best learning happens on a more informal basis through social activities, outdoors and community get-togethers.
  • Ensure internet connection for students within health service sites and housing.
  • Get feedback from students, preceptors and the community about how the experiences/learning is going.
  • Celebrate and acknowledge contributions of all.

Thank you to the communities who pioneered interprofessional learning in British Columbia between 2003 and 2011.