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Med J Aust. 2015 Jan 19;202(1):41-5.

Determinants of rural practice: positive interaction between rural background and rural undergraduate training.

Author information

1
University of Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia. geoff.nicholson@uq.edu.au.
2
University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
3
University of Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the role of rural background and years of rural clinical school training on subsequent rural clinical practice.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

Retrospective cohort study of University of Queensland (UQ) medical graduates who graduated during the period 2002-2011 (contacted via internet, telephone and mail, using information obtained from UQ, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and telephone directory and internet searches) who completed an online or hard copy questionnaire during the period December 2012 to October 2013.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Current clinical practice in a rural location.

RESULTS:

Of 1572 graduates to whom the questionnaire was sent, 754 (48.0%) completed the questionnaire. Of the respondents, 236 (31.3%) had a rural background and 276 (36.6%) had attended the University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (UQRCS). Clinical practice location was rural for 18.8% (90/478) of UQ metropolitan clinical school attendees and 41.7% (115/276) of UQRCS attendees (P < 0.001). In the multivariate model with main effects, independent predictors of rural practice were (OR [95% CI]): UQRCS attendance for 1 year (1.84 [1.21-2.82]) or 2 years (2.71 [1.65-4.45]), rural background (2.30 [1.57-3.36]), partner with rural background (3.08 [1.96-4.84]), being single (1.98 [1.28-3.06]) and having a bonded scholarship (2.34 [1.37-3.98]). In the model with interaction between UQRCS attendance and rural background, independent predictors of rural practice were rural background and UQRCS attendance for 1 year (4.44 [2.38-8.29]) or 2 years (7.09 [3.57-14.10]), partner with rural background (3.14 [1.99-4.96]), being single (2.02 [1.30-3.12]) and bonded scholarship (2.27 [1.32-3.90]). The effects of rural background and UQRCS attendance were duration dependent.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study strengthens evidence that, after adjusting for multiple confounders, a number of exposures are independent predictors of rural medical practice. The strong positive interaction between rural background and rural clinical school exposure, and the duration-dependent relationships, could help inform policy changes aimed at enhancing the efficacy of Australia's rural clinical school program.

PMID:
25588445
DOI:
10.5694/mja14.00236
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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