Experiences of working as early career allied health professionals and doctors in rural and remote environments: A qualitative systematic review

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review



A number of systematic and scoping reviews have investigated recruitment and retention factors for rural and remote health professionals and generated workforce recommendations. Many of these reviews have included all health professionals in their inclusion criteria with the majority of included studies based on the experience of doctors, and only a small number of allied health professionals. This review aimed to explore the experiences of early career allied health professionals and doctors separately and to compare and contrast the similarities and differences to enable workforce planning to be targeted at factors and strategies that are relevant to each professional group.


A systematic search was conducted across eight databases, studies were screened by all reviewers. Included studies were critically appraised and findings were extracted and assigned a level of credibility according to the Johanna Briggs Institute Method for qualitative systematic reviews. A meta-analysis of the findings was conducted.


Thirty-two papers were included, a total of 23 categories and 334 findings were aggregated into three synthesised findings: 1. Making a difference through professional and organisational factors, 2. Working in rural areas can offer unique and rewarding opportunities, 3. Personal and community influences make a difference.


A range of similar and different experiences were identified for early career allied health professionals and doctors in rural and remote areas. Recommendations to grow and sustain a rural and remote allied health workforce were generated including enabling career paths through structured training programs, hands on learning opportunities, quality supervision and community immersion.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2022
Event14th National Rural and Remote Allied Health Conference: People, Purpose, Passion: Pathways to success - Virtual online, Australia
Duration: 15 Nov 202216 Nov 2022
Conference number: 14th


Conference14th National Rural and Remote Allied Health Conference
OtherThe National Rural and Remote Allied Health Conference has a strong reputation as one of the best-allied health conferences in Australia. It is the centrepiece of SARRAH’s engagement with our members and all allied health professionals, service providers, academics, students, and state and Commonwealth governments working to ensure equitable health outcomes for rural and remote Australians. In 2022 the purpose of our gathering is to share knowledge and thought leadership in the rural and remote allied health sector while networking with new and old friends.

This year’s theme – People, Purpose Passion: Pathways to Success – will bring together committed health professionals with a shared vision of building our community of change agents, so that rural and remote Australians have access to the healthcare they need to stay whole, healthy, and fully participating in society. Together we will explore rural career pathways, contemporary practice, and consider the health system reforms needed to improve access to allied health services for vulnerable Australians. If you are interested in contributing to sustainable and resilient rural and remote communities, this conference is for you.
Internet address


  • Rural and remote health care
  • Allied health professionals
  • Early career
  • Systematic review


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