Strategies for increasing allied health recruitment and retention in Australia: A rapid review

Strategies for increasing allied health recruitment and retention in Australia: A rapid review Report

  • Author(s): Battye, K, Roufeil, L, Edwards, M, Hardaker, L, Janssen, T, Wilkins, R
  • Published: 2019
  • Publisher: Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH)

Abstract: The NSW Ministry of Health commissioned this rapid review to outline the evidence to address the overarching question: What strategies have proven effective or ineffective for increasing the efficacy of allied health recruitment and retention in Australia? The take home message is that while there has been considerable research to identify the factors that influence allied health professional recruitment and retention in rural areas, there is limited quality evidence to demonstrate the impact of recruitment and retention interventions on workforce outcomes across individual professions or the allied health workforce as a whole. This is due to issues with the research design such as small sample size, failure to control for extraneous variables, difficulty establishing a baseline against which to assess results, significant drop out rates in longitudinal studies, and an inability to identify causal relationships between interventions and workforce outcomes. The strongest evidence concerning recruitment of Allied Health Professionals to rural and remote practice relates to: • Rural background • Curriculum that reflects rural health issues • Quality rural placements. Factors that influence retention are broadly categorised as professional and organisational, social (family and personal), and financial. These are modifiable to varying extent. Non-modifiable factors include location and community amenity, modifiable factors include: • Safe and supportive work environments • Career development • Nature of the work and outreach support • Professional networks • Public recognition of the role • Appropriate financial incentives. Rural Pipeline: One of the strongest lines of emerging evidence is the ‘Rural Pipeline’: recruiting students from rural backgrounds, delivering regional training, exposure during training to rural curriculum and placements, and then building opportunities for regional postgraduate training. This has been progressed in medicine and allied health over the last decade. Drawing on published and grey literature and industry knowledge, this rapid review demonstrates many components of a rural allied health pipeline are in place. Further work is required to link the components together to create a comprehensive pipeline. A proposed approach is to cohesively structure interventions to address known determinants of poor retention, create the pipeline, market this effectively and have funding models and mechanisms that create sustainable positions and service delivery. The following summary identifies a range of factors that influence the recruitment and retention of allied health professionals in rural areas across the professional lifespan. It is based on the concept of the ‘Rural Pipeline’ and is informed by the evidence contained in this rapid review.

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Suggested Citation
Battye, K, Roufeil, L, Edwards, M, Hardaker, L, Janssen, T, Wilkins, R, 2019, Strategies for increasing allied health recruitment and retention in Australia: A rapid review, Report, viewed 19 May 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=39942.

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