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Aust J Rural Health. 2005 Oct;13(5):321-6.

Oral health workforce in rural and remote Western Australia: practice perceptions.

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Centre for Rural and Remote Oral Health, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia.



In this study an analysis was undertaken to determine: (i) the major factors that influence oral health professionals to practise in rural areas and determine practice location; (ii) what assists the professional oral health workforce to remain in rural practice; and (iii) what the main reasons are for leaving rural practice.


A postal survey was undertaken among all registered oral health professionals in Western Australia.


Rural and remote Western Australia.


Registered dental therapists, dental hygienists and dentists in rural and remote Western Australia.


Results indicated that there are various factors that attract people to rural and remote areas, other than financial incentives. Incentives to remain in rural practice include the need for professional development. The most common reason for leaving rural practice was to access children's educational facilities.


This study emphasises that many factors contribute to recruitment and retention of dental professionals in rural practice. A broad integrated retention strategy is needed to address oral health workforce shortage issues in rural and remote Western Australia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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