More Allied Health Graduates Are Taking Up Rural Jobs

By Ryan Mccann
Thursday, 30 May, 2013

More than a third of allied health students who completed a rural placement are now working in rural and remote Australia, according a new survey by Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH).
A survey of 161 graduates who completed a Clinical Placement Scholarship between 2009 and 2012 found that 35 per cent of them are now working in rural practice. The findings, which were collated via email and phone, are a strong indicator that exposure to rural practice as a student gives health providers a more positive outlook towards future careers in rural regions.
SARRAH CEO Rod Wellington said the survey also found that 73 per cent of respondents, including those currently working in cities, intended to work in rural and remote settings in the future.
“This survey verifies our belief that rural placements for students of both city and country backgrounds is a good thing for Australia,” Mr Wellington said. “We’ve known for a long time that rural students are more likely to work in a rural setting, but these findings show that city-based health professionals will also relocate to the bush if they are given a taste of rural practice while at university. “Once they graduate, young allied health professionals are having a huge impact on rural patients in crucial areas of need such as aged care, mental health, early intervention and Aboriginal health. “It not only results in rural patients getting access to more health services, but it gives allied health professionals a great start to their careers.”
Key findings from the survey of 161 graduates are:

  • 18 per cent are employed in areas with Australia’s second highest rating of remoteness (*ASGC-RA 4)

  • 45 are working in rural and remote areas other than where they completed their clinical placement. These include Innisfail (Qld), Austins Ferry (Tas), Leongatha (Vic), Dubbo (NSW), Tom Price (WA).

  • 54 per cent chose to work in metropolitan areas, citing lack of incentives with rural jobs and the cost of living away from families as two factors influencing their career choice.

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