Introduction: Rural background and training have previously been found to increase the likelihood of rural practice. However, practitioners of many health professions remain in shortage in rural and remote Australia. This study builds on previous work in that it includes medical, nursing and allied health professions, considers the role of the health professional's family in employment decisions, and includes a broader array of factors influencing employment preference and the preferred location of practice. The survey also examines when students might work in a rural area.
Method: The survey was designed after an extensive review of relevant literature and existing surveys, consultation with rural clinicians, and piloting with students. Approximately 500 students per year are anticipated to complete the survey while on placement at the Northern Rivers University Department of Rural Health, New South Wales, Australia, and will be contacted annually for at least 10 years.
Results: The Careers in Rural Health Tracking Survey questions both students and their spouses about employment preferences and related family factors. It contains questions about the size of towns respondents would be willing to work in, and when they would consider working there. It also asks in which regions of Australia students and partners would be prepared to work.
Conclusions: This study aims to expand knowledge of the factors that encourage or discourage health professionals from practising in rural areas. Information about the time dimension in decision-making, areas most likely to face shortages, and about the types of clinicians most likely to work in certain regions, will be crucial when developing initiatives to attract new graduates to rural practice.
|Journal||Rural and Remote Health|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2007|