Country-born doctors return to roots

RURAL medical students will often return to their roots.

A University of Queensland study shows country-born and trained doctors prefer setting up shop in regional and remote areas.

Those surveyed included people attending UQ Rural Clinical School campuses in Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Toowoomba.

Rural Clinical School head Professor Geoff Nicholson said the study's outcomes could reduce the doctor divide between regional and urban areas.

Prof Nicholson said students who had been raised outside metropolitan areas who did at least a year of their medical training in rural and regional areas were more likely to return to the country.

"The exposure to high-quality rural training at a rural clinical school enhanced the probability of that graduate practising rurally," Prof Nicholson said.

The research found 31.3% of the 754 doctors surveyed had a rural background and 27.22% were now working in a rural area.

Of those who attended a metropolitan clinical school, 18.8% were practising rurally and that rose to 41.7% for students who spent time at a rural campus.

"The findings reinforce the need for medical schools to have a strong rural presence.

"Without it we run the risk of losing medical graduates to metropolitan areas."


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