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Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 64; doi:10.3390/educsci7020064

Preparing Graduates to Meet the Allied Health Workforce Needs in Rural Australia: Short-Term Outcomes from a Longitudinal Study

1
Department of Rural Health, University of Newcastle, 114-148 Johnston St, Tamworth, NSW 2340, Australia
2
Department of Rural Health, University of Newcastle, 69A High St, Taree, NSW 2430, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 April 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 9 June 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Professional Education: Responding to Population Health Needs)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [208 KB, uploaded 16 June 2017]

Abstract

The future allied health workforce needs to be flexible to meet the needs of an ageing population with increasing chronic health care needs and geographically dispersed populations in many developed countries. Existing research shows the maldistribution of the Australian health workforce, with allied health professionals being poorly represented in rural and remote areas. This mixed-methods longitudinal workforce outcomes study is ongoing to determine the rural and remote allied health workforce outcomes from an immersive student placement program based in rural New South Wales, Australia. Outcomes, to date, show 52% of graduates working in a rural or remote area (RA2–RA5) after one year and 37.5% at three years post-graduation. Students from a rural or remote background were 2.35 times (95% CI 1.056–5.229) more likely to be located in a rural or remote workplace after one year than graduates from a metropolitan background. Graduates provided reasons for their plans to move from or stay in their current position. Four key themes emerged: Seeking new and different opportunities; Better income and job security; Personal change and lifestyle improvement and Level of job satisfaction. An existing program to develop the allied health workforce in rural Australia is demonstrating positive short-term outcomes. Ongoing monitoring of workforce outcomes is required to determine the long-term outcomes for rural and remote communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: health professional education; health workforce; allied health; rural health services health professional education; health workforce; allied health; rural health services
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brown, L.; Smith, T.; Wakely, L.; Little, A.; Wolfgang, R.; Burrows, J. Preparing Graduates to Meet the Allied Health Workforce Needs in Rural Australia: Short-Term Outcomes from a Longitudinal Study. Educ. Sci. 2017, 7, 64.

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