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Can J Rural Med. 2014 Summer;19(3):93-8.

Medical practice in rural Saskatchewan: factors in physician recruitment and retention.

Author information

  • 1Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Academic Family Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Swift Current, Sask.
  • 2Family Physician, Calgary, Alta.
  • 3Division of Social Accountability; Departments of Community Health and Epidemiology, and Academic Family Medicine; Making the Links program, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Sask.

Abstract

in English, French

INTRODUCTION:

The recruitment and retention of physicians in rural communities is a challenge throughout Canada and across the globe. In 1976, a group of medical students profiled rural communities with medical practices and produced a summary report entitled Medical Practice in Saskatchewan. Our objective was to repeat the 1976 study and to identify factors that motivate physicians to select rural locations for practice.

METHODS:

Physicians practising in rural Saskatchewan were interviewed in 2011 and 2012. Through qualitative, inductive analysis, we identified themes that drove the recruitment and retention of physicians.

RESULTS:

Sixty-two physicians were interviewed and 105 communities profiled. Of the physicians interviewed, 21 noted that the ability to practise full-scope family medicine and having the freedom to practise as they desire was important for recruitment, and 43 reported that these factors influenced their decision to remain in a community. Attraction to a rural lifestyle (cited by 17 physicians), having a rural background (13) and having ties to a specific community (12) were important for recruitment. Feeling appreciated by patients (45), one's spouse and/or family enjoying the community (41), and integration into the community (38) were important factors for retention.

CONCLUSION:

The decision to practise in a rural location correlates with a desire for a broad and varied scope of practice, being attracted to a rural lifestyle and having rural roots. Once physicians establish a rural practice, they are more likely to stay if they can continue a broad scope of practice, if they feel appreciated by their patients, and if their spouses and family are happy in the community.

PMID:
24991859
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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