Recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals in rural Canada: A systematic review
Introduction: This review explores a pertinent issue for healthcare professionals and recruiters alike: which factors are most important in the recruitment and retention of these professionals in rural practice in Canada. Existing research concentrates on specific factors or focused populations. This review was created to explore multiple factors and a wider population of healthcare professionals, including chiropractors, osteopaths, dentists and physiotherapists. Methods: A literature search was carried out on four databases. Data from included studies were extracted, and thematic analysis was conducted on relevant findings. The quality of individual studies was assessed, and then themes were evaluated for overall confidence based on four components, using the Confidence in the Evidence for Reviews of Qualitative Research. Results: One quantitative and four qualitative articles were identified, all of which targeted physicians. Five themes – Personal/family matters, Community factors, Professional practice factors, Professional education factors and Economic factors – were generated in two domains, recruitment and retention. Forty major codes were generated through axial coding of open codes. Codes included attraction to rural lifestyle, recreational activities, Scope of practice, rural training and incentives. Scope of practice was deemed very important as a factor of recruitment, as was attraction to rural lifestyle. Incentives were found to be of little importance in influencing the recruitment of healthcare professionals, and even less important for retention. Conclusion: Wide scope of practice and attraction to the rural lifestyle were considered the most important for recruitment and to a lesser extent, retention, among the five papers studied. A lack of research was determined in the realm of factors influencing the recruitment and retention in healthcare professionals other than medical doctors in Canada. Therefore, it is recommended that further such studies investigate specific healthcare professionals.
Koebisch, Savanna H