Why do junior doctors not want to work in a rural location, and what would induce them to do so?
Objective: Identify the most important factors associated with choosing rural medical practice. Design: Cross-sectional design using a web survey to collect quantitative and qualitative data. Participants: One hundred and ninety junior doctors - 91 interns, 99 PGY2. Main outcome measures: Choice of practice location (urban/rural), reason for choosing location, enticement to a rural location. Results: Twenty-seven per cent of junior doctors preferred a rural practice location. Preference to practice in a rural area was associated with medical placement bonding schemes, rural background, rural placement experience and being older. High levels of professional expectations and prestige were associated with a preference for an urban location. The most important reasons for choosing a practice location included consideration of partner, family and friends (35.3%), preference for a location (20.5%), lifestyle goals (19.5%) and career opportunities, specialty requirements and infrastructure (17.9%). Those who preferred an urban compared with a rural location gave more importance to factors concerning partner, family and friends. The factors that would entice a doctor to a rural location included partner and family considerations (27.0%), professional support (20.3%), and career opportunities, specialty requirements and infrastructure (16.3%). Women gave more importance to partner and family factors than men. Conclusions: Our findings support the continuation of policies that are known to encourage choice of rural practice, but highlight the need for additional strategies that consider the personal and professional needs of this generation of doctors.
Australian Journal of Rural Health
Psychology not elsewhere classified