Remote Human Settlements in Developed Nations
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Andrew Taylor, Dean B. Carson, Prescott C. Ensign, Lee Huskey, Rasmus O. Rasmussen and Gertrude Saxinger
Chapter 14: Recruitment and retention of professional labour: the health workforce at settlement level
Dean B. Carson, Elizabeth Wenghofer, Patrick Timony, Adrian Schoo, Peter Berggren, Brian Charters, Daniel R. White, Ana Vuin and Jaimee Garrett INTRODUCTION This chapter proposes that effective recruitment and retention of health (and other) professionals in sparsely populated areas relies on an understanding of the specific location in which the workforce will be based, the workplace and the existing local health workforce. While recruitment and retention is a problem for almost all sparsely populated areas, getting the right ‘place–workforce–workplace’ fit is a process that is specific to individual settlements. The chapter uses research from Australia (attributes of local health workforce) and Canada (attributes of work and the workplace) to illustrate the diversity of contexts for recruitment and retention. Research from Sweden will demonstrate how settlement- ensitive recruits ment and retention programmes may be designed and implemented. Since the mid- 980s, the health sector has invested substantial resources 1 into research and programmes to support recruitment and retention of professional staff in sparsely populated areas of Australia, Canada, the United States and Europe. Thirty years of research has led to a series of ‘general truths’ about recruitment and retention. These include observations about the sorts of people who are attracted to work in sparsely populated areas, the sorts of incentives required to attract those people, and the characteristics of workplaces and host communities that serve to maximise recruitment and retention (henceforth R&R) potential (Wilson et al., 2009). The general truths contain elements of paradox. For example, health professionals...
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