Rural background and education beget rural doctors

15 Jan 2015

Increasing the amount of time medical students spend training in rural settings and recruiting more students from rural backgrounds will encourage more to become country doctors, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA).

A/Prof Srinivas Kondalsamy-Chennakesavan and Professor Geoff Nicholson, at the University of Queensland’s Rural Clinical School (UQRCS), led a team of researchers who used data from UQ’s longitudinal tracking study of its medical graduates. They found that, when compared to students with a metropolitan background who attended a Metropolitan Clinical School, those with a rural background who spent two years at UQRCS were seven times more likely to practice rurally.

An editorial in the same issue of the MJA points to the need to build “regional local postgraduate training networks”. It observes that better targeting of incentives should provide a synergistic strategy which, when used in conjunction with key strategies associated with rural background, rural education and rural service obligations, should increase the number of doctors working in rural locations.

Read the MJA article - Determinants of rural practice: positive interaction between rural background and rural undergraduate training.

Read the MJA editorial – What influences doctors to work in rural locations?