Factors related to doctors' choice of rural pathway in general practice specialty training

Premala Sureshkumar*, Chris Roberts, Tyler Clark, Michael Jones, Robert Hale, Marcia Grant

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To investigate the factors eligible applicants consider in electing for a rural pathway into specialty training. Design: Cohort study. Setting: Australia. Participants: Applicants to the Australian General Practice Training program. Main outcome measures: Applicants' initial preference of either a general or rural pathway to undertake specialty training. Results: Of the 2,221 applicants, 45% were Australian Medical Graduates (AMGs), 27% Foreign Graduates of Accredited Medical Schools (FGAMS) and 29% International Medical Graduates (IMGs). Through government regulation, two thirds (70%) were eligible to train on both general and rural pathways and a third (30%) were required to train rurally. For applicants eligible for general pathway (n = 1552), those with rural background [Odds Ratio (OR) = 3.7, 95% CI 2.7-5.2] and rural clinical school experience (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.5-2.8) were more likely to choose the rural pathway. In addition, FGAMS who were eligible for the general pathway were less likely to choose a rural pathway when compared with IMGs (OR = 0.33, 95%CI 0.1 = 0.7). In applicants who changed their training pathway from their initial to revised preference, lower Multiple-Mini-Interview (OR = 0.54, 95% CI 0.43-0.66) and Situational Judgement Test z-scores (OR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.56-0.83) were associated with a higher probability of changing from a general to rural pathway preference. Conclusion: For those eligible for a general or rural pathway, rural background and rural clinical school experience are associated with the decision to elect for rural training. Targeted support for international and foreign graduates of Australia/New Zealand schools may influence them to train rurally.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)148-154
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


    • registrar
    • rural background
    • rural clinical school
    • postgraduate
    • workforce planning


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