“You get exposed to a wider range of things and it can be challenging but very exciting at the same time”: enablers of and barriers to transition to rural practice by allied health professionals in Australia

“You get exposed to a wider range of things and it can be challenging but very exciting at the same time”: enablers of and barriers to transition to rural practice by allied health professionals in Australia Journal Article

BMC Health Services Research

  • Author(s): Kumar, Saravana, Tian, Esther Jie, May, Esther, Crouch, Rosanne, McCulloch, Mandy
  • Published: 2020
  • Volume: 20
  • ISBN: 1472-6963

Abstract: Background: There is consistent evidence highlighting the mal-distribution of the health workforce between urban and rural and remote regions. To date, addressing this mal-distribution has focused on medicine and nursing with limited initiatives targeted at allied health. Therefore, the aim of this research was to explore the enablers of and barriers to transition to rural practice by allied health professionals across South Australia in Australia. Method: Qualitative descriptive methodology was used to underpin this research. Individual, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with employers, managers and allied health professionals from rural regions of South Australia who were identified using purposive maximum variation sampling strategy. Results: A total 22 participants shared their perspectives on the enablers of and barriers to transition to rural practice by allied health professionals across South Australia. Thematic analysis of the interview data resulted in a number of key issues impacting transition to rural-based practice. These findings could be broadly categorised into three stages during the transition: ‘before’; ‘during’ and ‘after’. Discussion: This study identified a range of enablers of and barriers to transition to rural practice by allied health professionals. Five overarching themes – nature of rural practice, exposure to rural ‘taster’, social/lifestyle, job availability/characteristics, and mentor and support were identified. In particular, exposure to rural ‘taster’, social/lifestyle, and mentor and support were the key themes reported by the stakeholders. The multifactorial nature of the barriers and enablers highlight the complexity underpinning how AHPs transition to rural-based practice. These barriers/ enablers are often inter-linked and continually evolving which pose significant challenges for health care stakeholders to successfully addressing these. Conclusion: This research sheds light on the complexities that confront and successful strategies that are required for health care stakeholders when considering how best to support allied health professional transition to rural practice.

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Suggested Citation
Kumar, Saravana, Tian, Esther Jie, May, Esther, Crouch, Rosanne, McCulloch, Mandy, 2020, “You get exposed to a wider range of things and it can be challenging but very exciting at the same time”: enablers of and barriers to transition to rural practice by allied health professionals in Australia, Volume:20, Journal Article, viewed 15 June 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=16660.

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