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Rural Pharmacy Workforce Challenges: A Qualitative Study

  • Year: 2010
  • Author: Khalil, Hanan; Leversha, Anne
  • Journal Name: Australian Pharmacist
  • Journal Number: Vol. 29, No. 3
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: Victoria

Aims: To explore the challenges, including recruitment and retention issues, facing rural community and hospital pharmacists in the Gippsland region of rural Victoria. Results: Family ties, career/business opportunities and flexible working hours were significant issues for both recruitment and retention for all of the participants working in rural locations. Proximity to a city and reliable transport were found to be other significant issues associated with retention of practitioners. Other issues that were also of interest included previous exposure to rural life and ethnic background, which were found to be more significant for recruitment than retention. The challenges of rural living, which impact on the rural hospital and community pharmacy workforce, were found to be variable but included locum availability, lack of access to continuing education, and having to be a generalist. The major benefits ofrural living were found to be good rapport and appreciation from patients and doctors, and life style. Conclusion: This study highlighted several factors influencing recruitment and retention of pharmacists in a rural area of Australia. There are multiple, complex and overlapping issues for the retention and recruitment of pharmacists working in a rural area. This paper concludes by highlighting the benefits and barriers of working in rural pharmacy.

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