Exploring incentives for early career professionals to ‘work in the village’: Industry stakeholder perspectives

Annie Farthing1, Keith Sutton2, Karin Fisher3, Tony Smith4, Anthony Wall5

1Centre for Remote Health, PO Box 4066, NT, 0871, annie.farthing@flinders.edu.au
2Monash University Department of Rural and Indigenous Health, PO Box 973, Moe, Victoria 3825
3University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health, Manning Education Centre, 69A High Street, Taree, NSW 2430
4University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health, Manning Education Centre, 69A High Street, Taree, NSW 2430
5Rural Health Workforce Australia, 10 Queens Rd Melbourne, Victoria, 3004


Problems of health workforce inequities confront policy makers and rural health industry stakeholders. Efforts to address these challenges have focused principally on medicine, with limited literature regarding non-medical graduate decision-making about work location. Strategies to attract early career nursing and allied health professionals to “work in the village” should be informed by all stakeholders.

Collaborative research between three University Departments of Rural Health (UDRHs) examined decision-making to relocate rural among urban-trained nursing and allied health professionals. Three stakeholder groups were sampled: senior nursing and allied health students; recent graduates (within two years); and, health industry stakeholders. This presentation focuses on the perspectives of the latter.


During April and May 2016, semi-structured in-depth interviews were performed with representatives of stakeholder organisations. Participants were from New South Wales, Northern Territory and Victoria, and included:

  • Regional, rural and remote private and public health sector employers;
  • Peak industry bodies for rural and remote nursing and allied health; and
  • Relevant professional associations.


Fifteen stakeholders were interviewed, five by each UDRH. Results focus on differing perceptions of recruitment in urban compared to locations classified as MMM 3-7. Recruitment strategies used to attract graduate nurses and allied health professionals to rural and remote practice, as well as incentives and disincentives were explored. Taking behavioural theory, normative beliefs and control factors into consideration, findings address:

  • Barriers and enablers to taking up rural and remote positions;
  • Strategies to encourage choices to “work in the village”;
  • Examples of recruitment strategies; and
  • Recommendations for further investigation.


I have lived and worked in Central Australia for 24 years.  I have a background in physiotherapy, an interest in Indigenous and community health.  I am currently working at the Centre for Remote Health supporting nursing and allied health students on placements at various sites in Central Australia.  I love living in the town of Alice Springs and I’m keen to support quality health services into the future by coordinating student placements for the next generation of remote health professionals.

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