Perspectives and experiences of early career rural allied health professionals undertaking the rural generalist training pathway

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Introduction: Rural and remote Australians have poorer access to health services than metropolitan counterparts. Occupational Therapists and other Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) provide essential and wide-ranging services to rural communities to improve their health and wellbeing. Retention of AHPs in rural areas is low, resulting in poorer health outcomes for communities.

Objectives: To explore the experience of working as an early career AHP in rural South Australia and the factors that impact on retention.

Method: A qualitative approach was used. Fifteen AHRGP trainees (including four occupational therapists) and twenty-five of their supervisors, managers and advanced clinical leads, were recruited to share their experiences and perspectives. In-depth interviews and surveys were conducted which were analysed with thematic analysis.

Results: A range of themes emerged: The AHRGP gives the opportunity for broad skill development and career progression; regular, quality clinical supervision is vitally important; rurally raised AHPs are more likely to plan to remain in a rural area; and workload and organisational pressures in teams may contribute to AHPs leaving earlier than they had planned.

Conclusion: While the AHRGP generated a range of positive outcomes for stakeholders, retention of AHPs in the pathway was challenging. To maximise retention, health services need to consider AHPs individual circumstances and provide flexible and appropriate workplace supports.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
EventOccupational Therapy Australia, 29th National Conference and Exhibition, 2021: Inspired Insights for Brighter Futures - Online , Australia
Duration: 23 Jun 202125 Jun 2021


  • Rural health
  • Remote Health
  • staff recruitment
  • staff retention
  • Allied health care professionals


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