Rural specialists: the nature of their work and professional satisfaction by geographical location of work

O'Sullivan, Belinda, McGrail, Matthew and Russell, Deborah (2017) Rural specialists: the nature of their work and professional satisfaction by geographical location of work. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 25 6: 338-346. doi:10.1111/ajr.12354

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Author O'Sullivan, Belinda
McGrail, Matthew
Russell, Deborah
Title Rural specialists: the nature of their work and professional satisfaction by geographical location of work
Journal name Australian Journal of Rural Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1440-1584
Publication date 2017-12-01
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ajr.12354
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 25
Issue 6
Start page 338
End page 346
Total pages 9
Place of publication Richmond, VIC Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: Systematically describe the characteristics of rural specialists, their work and job satisfaction by geographical location of work.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting and participants: Three thousand, four hundred and seventy-nine medical specialists participating in the 2014 Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) survey of doctors.

Main outcome measure: Location of practise, whether metropolitan, large (>50 000 population) or small regional centres (<50 000 population).

Result: Specialists working in large regional centres had similar characteristics to metropolitan specialists, however, those in small regional centres were more likely men, later career, overseas-trained and less likely to work privately. Rural specialists had more on-call requirements and poorer professional development opportunities. However, satisfaction with work hours, remuneration, variety of work, level of responsibility, opportunities to use abilities and overall satisfaction did not differ. Specialists in general medicine and general surgery were significantly more likely to work rurally compared with anaesthetists, particularly in small regional centres, whereas a range of other relevant specialists had lower than the average rural distribution and paediatricians and endocrinologists were significantly less likely to work in large regional centres.

Conclusion: Rural specialists are just as satisfied as metropolitan counterparts reporting equivalent variety and responsibility at work. Better support for on-call demands and access to professional development could attract more specialists to rural practise. Increased rural training opportunities and regional workforce planning is needed to develop and recruit relevant specialties. Specifically, targeted support is warranted for training and development of specialists in general medicine and general surgery and overseas-trained specialists, who provide essential services in smaller regional centres.
Keyword Rural specialists
Geographical location of work
Job satisfaction
Work satisfaction
Health policy
Medical specialist
Rural medicine
Rural workforce
Work-force service development
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
Faculty of Medicine
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Created: Thu, 07 Dec 2017, 15:19:19 EST by Kaye Cumming on behalf of Faculty of Medicine