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Aust J Rural Health. 2015 Jun;23(3):161-8. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12183. Epub 2015 May 6.

Urban washout: how strong is the rural-background effect?

Author information

1
Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
2
School of Rural Health, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia.
3
Dean's Office, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
4
Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test predictors of practice location of fully qualified Monash University Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) graduates.

DESIGN:

Cohort survey, 2011.

SETTING:

Australia.

PARTICIPANTS:

Rural (n = 67/129) and urban (n = 86/191) background doctors starting at Monash University 1992-1999. Approximately 60% female, 77% married/partnered, 79% Australian-born, mean age 34 years, 31% general practitioners, 72% fully qualified and 80% training/practising in major cities.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

First and current practice location once fully qualified. Intended practice location in 5-10 years.

RESULTS:

Logistic regression found that rural versus urban background was a significant predictor of rural (outside major city) first practice location (odds ratio (OR) 5.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-19.2) and rural current practice location (OR 5.6, 95% CI 1.5-21.2) for fully qualified doctors. General practitioner versus other medical specialists significantly predicted first (OR 7.2, 95% CI 2.1-25.2) or current (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.1-11.9) rural practice location. Preference for a rural practice location in 5-10 years was predicted by rural background (OR 4.4, 95% CI 1.6-11.8) and positive intention towards rural practice upon completing MBBS (OR 4.6, 95% CI 1.7-12.6). Surveyed in 2011, 28% of those who also responded to the 2006 survey shifted their preferred future practice location from rural to urban communities versus 13% shifting from urban to rural (McNemar-Bowker test, P = 0.02).

CONCLUSION:

The majority of fully qualified Monash MBBS graduates practicing in rural communities have rural backgrounds. The rural-background effect diminished over time and may need continued support during training and full practice.

KEYWORDS:

doctor; logistic regression; practice intention; practice location

PMID:
25945452
DOI:
10.1111/ajr.12183
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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