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Rethinking registrar attributes for Australian rural general practice training

Eley, Diann S., Laurence, Caroline, David, Michael, Cloninger, C. Robert, Walters, Lucie
The Australian journal of rural health 2017 v.25 no.4 pp. 227-234
labor force, males, medicine, models, questionnaires, regression analysis, rural communities, rural health, sociodemographic characteristics, Australia
OBJECTIVE: Despite increases in Commonwealth funded general practice (GP) Registrar training positions, workforce trends continue to show geographical maldistribution. This study aimed to identify Registrar attributes which describe a cohort choosing to work in rural practice. DESIGN: Cross‐sectional self‐report questionnaire for socio‐demographics, prior training, current training pathway, measures of personality and resilience. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: GP Registrars (N = 452) training in either the general or rural pathways of three Registered Training Providers in three states, or training through the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine's independent pathway. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Ordinal logistic regression tested the impact of key variables on the likelihood that Registrars would settle in rural practice. Univariate analysis explored differences between groups and effects of variables. RESULTS: A significantly increased interest in rural practice was to found to exist among registrars who were male, identified themselves as being rural, had a partner who identified as being rural, were enrolled in a rural training pathway and had high levels of Cooperativeness. CONCLUSION: We present a discriminating model combining socio‐demographics, prior training and personality variables which challenges Australia to rethink Registrar attributes when training for rural general practice. With significant changes about to occur to GP training in Australia, this paper highlights the need for a more holistic approach which considers personal attributes such as Cooperativeness, rural identity and provision of geographically focused rural training pipelines to encourage Registrars to bond to individual rural communities and further develop their personal connectedness to country life and rural medical practice.