Beyond the black stump: rapid reviews of health research issues affecting regional, rural and remote Australia

Vincent L Versace, Tony Smith and Keith Sutton
Med J Aust 2021; 215 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51165
Published online: 2 August 2021

To the Editor: Recruitment and retention of a sustainable rural health workforce was one of four issues highlighted by Osborne in a recent MJA supplement.1 Chapter 4 of the Supplement describes a need for longitudinal methods to evaluate recruitment and retention of nursing and allied health professionals, noting challenges around scale and links to policy.2 Comparative efforts examining the medical workforce in Australia are more advanced (eg, the Medical Schools Outcomes Database). Chapter 5 concludes there is a need for a longitudinal, linked database to address rural workforce planning that utilises public data sources, noting medicine was covered by all primary data sources identified, yet only three covered all health professions.3

  • 1 Deakin Rural Health, Deakin University, Warrnambool, VIC
  • 2 Department of Rural Health, University of Newcastle, Taree, NSW
  • 3 School of Rural Health, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC


We would like to acknowledge the NAHGOT study team:

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Osborne SR. The Spinifex Network engages place-based researchers to identify research priorities to improve the health and wellbeing of communities living in regional, rural and remote Australia. Med J Aust 2020; 213 (11 Suppl): S3–S4.
  • 2. Walsh S, Lyle DM, Thompson SC, et al. The role of national policies to address rural allied health, nursing and dentistry workforce maldistribution. Med J Aust 2020; 213 (11 Suppl): S18–S22.
  • 3. Gillam MH, Leach MJ, Gonzalez-Chica DA, et al. Availability and characteristics of publicly available health workforce data sources in Australia. Med J Aust 2020; 213 (11 Suppl): S23–S26.
  • 4. Sutton K, Beauchamp A, Smith T, et al. Rationale and protocol for the Nursing and Allied Health Graduate Outcomes Tracking (NAHGOT) study: a large-scale longitudinal investigation of graduate practice destinations. Rural Remote Health 2021; 13 June. (viewed June 2021).
  • 5. Smith T, Sutton K, Beauchamp A, et al. Profile and rural exposure for nursing and allied health students at two Australian universities: a retrospective cohort study. Aust J Rural Health 2021; 29: 21–33.
  • 6. Sutton K, Depczynski J, Smith T, et al. Destinations of nursing and allied health graduates from two Australian universities: a data linkage study to inform rural placement models. Aust J Rural Health 2021; 29: 191–200.


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