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Short Communication

Junior doctors’ and medical students’ commitment to working in areas of workforce shortage

Submitted: 4 April 2011
Revised: 11 April 2011
Published: 19 April 2011

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Author(s) : Rogers ME, Creed PA, Searle J.

Mary RogersPeter CreedJudy Searle

Citation: Rogers ME, Creed PA, Searle J.  Junior doctors’ and medical students’ commitment to working in areas of workforce shortage. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2011; 11: 1775. Available: (Accessed 18 October 2017)


Introduction: Australian Government initiatives promote rural training placements, supported medical school places, and incentives that attract doctors to areas of need. The purpose of this study was to report on the preparedness of medical students and junior doctors to commit to working in areas of workforce shortage.
Methods: Medical students and junior doctors across all Australian states and territories completed a web-based survey assessing career attitudes and intentions. Participants were asked to indicate their level of preparedness to commit to working in an area of need.
Results: Completed surveys were received from 760 medical students and 264 junior doctors. A substantial proportion of this sample were prepared to make some form of commitment to providing medical services in a rural area. The greatest proportion (38.3%) was prepared to make a small commitment equal to an irregular locum service of 1 week or 1 month per year.
Conclusion: Government policies and incentives may be having an effect on medical students’ and junior doctors’ preparedness to work in rural and remote areas. Medical educators should encourage students and junior doctors to take up short-term placements/opportunities and to maintain links with rural communities. Practice opportunities that offer varying lengths of commitment should be advertised widely so junior doctors are aware of them and can apply.

Key words: Australia, commitment, junior doctors, medical students, medical workforce, rural and remote areas.

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