Strategies in Recruiting an Adequate Rural Healthcare Workforce

Troy Cloutier, Johnson & Wales University - Providence


Purpose/objective: Inadequate access to healthcare in the rural United States has been an ongoing challenge despite national attention and incentives. This report assess the effectiveness of NHSC financial incentives on rural provider recruitment compared to immersive rural-focused medical training programs with targeted student selection. Methods: The PubMed database was searched using the key phrases rural recruitment, retention, healthcare providers, loan forgiveness, and rural medicine clerkships. Three articles were included in this report which provide different viewpoints on the factors influencing healthcare providers to choose rural practice including participation in NHSC programs and rural focused medical training. Results: Significant relationships were shown between rural upbring, participation in a rural medicine training program, and current rural practice. Associations between loan forgiveness and rural practice were mixed but have historically shown positive associations. Conclusions: Missions driven medical training programs that target students with rural backgrounds results in graduating greater proportions of rural providers. Promoting such programs may be an effective and less costly alternative to loan forgiveness and scholarship incentives.