Workforce Quality and Innovation

Research Overview

Rural areas in Australia and the Western world struggle to recruit and retain a health workforce equipped to meet the needs of rural residents. This research stream investigates the recruitment and retention of the rural workforce as well as the training of rural health professionals. The work of this research group focuses on four areas that investigate the training of the future workforce as well as the workforce needs and related issues:

  • Medical education in rural areas
  • Nursing and allied health training in rural areas
  • Workforce needs in northern Victoria
  • Recruitment to, and retention of, rural health professionals in rural areas


Prof. Julian Wright

Geetha Ranmuthugala

Claire Quilliam

Dr Tegan Podubinski

Robyn McNeill

Noha Merchant

Andrew Hamilton


Australian Government Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training program.

Research Publications


Nancarrow, S., McGill, N., Baldac, S., Lewis, T., Moran, A., Harris, N., . . . Mulcair, G. (2023). Diversity in the Australian speech-language pathology workforce: Addressing Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 8, and 10. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY, 6 pages. doi:

Quilliam, C., Wong Shee, A., Corboy, D. et al. Design and implementation characteristics of research training for rural health professionals: a qualitative descriptive study. BMC Med Educ 23, 200 (2023).


Hoang, H., Jessup, B., Obamiro, K., Bourke, L., Hellwege, B., Podubinski, T., . . . Knight, S. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 on rural and remote student placements in Australia: A national study. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH, 30(2), 197-207. doi:

Malatzky, C, Bourke, L, Farmer, J. ‘I think we're getting a bit clinical here’: A qualitative study of professionals' experiences of providing mental healthcare to young people within an Australian rural service. Health Soc Care Community. 2022; 30: 519– 528.

King, O., West, E., Lee, S., Glenister, K., Quilliam, C., Wong Shee, A., & Beks, H. (2022). Research education and training for nurses and allied health professionals: a systematic scoping review. BMC MEDICAL EDUCATION, 22(1), 55 pages. doi:

Jessup, B., Hoang, H., Podubinski, T., Obamiro, K., Bourke, L., Hellwege, B., . . . Rasiah, R. (2022). 'I can't go, I can't afford it': Financial concern amongst health students undertaking rural and remote placements during COVID-19. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH, 30(2), 238-251. doi:

Sheepway, L., Jessup, B., Podubinski, T., Heaney, S., Bailie, J., Ha, H., & Bourke, L. (2022). A qualitative exploration of health student perspectives of rural and remote placements during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH, 14 pages. doi:

Green, E., Quilliam, C., Sheepway, L., Hays, C. A., Moore, L., Rasiah, R. L., . . . Collett, M. (2022). Identifying features of quality in rural placements for health students: scoping review. BMJ OPEN, 12(4), 11 pages. doi:

Reid, C., Bennetts, S. K., Nicholson, J. M., Amir, L. H., & Chamberlain, C. (2022). Rural primary care workforce views on trauma-informed care for parents experiencing complex trauma: A descriptive study. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH, 16 pages. doi:

Moroney, T., Gerdtz, M., Brockenshire, N., Maude, P., Weller-Newton, J., Hatcher, D., . . . Molloy, E. (2022). Exploring the contribution of clinical placement to student learning: A sequential mixed methods study. NURSE EDUCATION TODAY, 113, 7 pages. doi:

Weller-Newton, J. M., Murray, M., Phillips, C., Laging, B., & McGillion, A. (2022). Transition to Practice Programs in Nursing: A Rapid Review.. J Contin Educ Nurs, 53(10), 442-450. doi:

Seal, A. N., Playford, D., McGrail, M. R., Fuller, L., Allen, P. L., Burrows, J. M.,Wright, J.R: . . . Luscombe, G. M. (2022). Influence of rural clinical school experience and rural origin on practising in rural communities five and eight years after graduation.. Med J Aust, 216(11), 572-577. doi:


Cosgrave, C., Malatzky, C., & Gillespie, J. (2019) Social determinants of rural health workforce retention: A scoping review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16(3) 314.


Cosgrave, C., Maple, M., & Hussain, R. (2018). An explanation of turnover intention among early-career nursing and allied health professionals working in rural and remote Australia - findings from a grounded theory study.. Rural and Remote Health, 18(3), 4511. doi:10.22605/RRH4511

Cosgrave, C., Maple, M., & Hussain, R. (2018). Work challenges negatively affecting the job satisfaction of early career community mental health professionals working in rural Australia: findings from a qualitative study. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 13(3), 173-186. doi:10.1108/JMHTEP-02-2017-0008


Caygill, R., Peardon, M., Waite, C., & Wright, J. (2017). Comparing a longitudinal integrated clerkship with traditional hospital-based rotations in a rural setting. Medical Teacher, 39(5), 520-526. doi:10.1080/0142159X.2017.1297893

Caygill, R., Peardon, M., Waite, C., McIntyre, I., Bradley, D., & Wright, J. (2017). Attitudes towards peer review of teaching in medical education. Focus on health professional education – A multidisciplinary journal, 18(2), 47-60. doi:10.11157/fohpe.v18i2.224

Cosgrave, C., Maple, M., & Hussain, R. (2017). Factors affecting job satisfaction of Aboriginal mental health workers working in community mental health in rural and remote New South Wales. Australian health review, 41(6), 707-711. doi:10.1071/AH16128


Malcolm, H. (2016). Towards medical practice - a mindful journey. In J. Sellers, & B. Moss (Eds.), Learning with the Labyrinth Creating Reflective Space in Higher Education (first ed., pp. 110-117). England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ervin, K., Currie, F., Nielsen, G., & Koschel, A. (2016). The value of a rural isolated practice endorsed registered nurse in a small rural health service. Research in Health Science, 1(1). doi:10.22158/rhs.v1n1p58

Pierce, D., Little, F., Bennett-Levy, J., Isaacs, A. N., Bridgman, H., Lutkin, S. J., . . . Martinez, L. A. (2016). Mental health academics in rural and remote Australia. Rural and remote health, 16(3), 11 pages. Retrieved from

Wakerman, J., Humphreys, J., Bourke, L., Dunbar, T., Jones, M., Carey, T., . . . Murakami-Gold, L. (2016). Assessing the Impact and Cost of Short-Term Health Workforce in Remote Indigenous Communities in Australia: A Mixed Methods Study Protocol. JMIR research protocols, 5(4), 8 pages. doi:10.2196/resprot.5831

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Director, UDRH Professor Lisa Bourke

Department / Centre

Rural Health

Unit / Centre

Workforce Quality and Innovation

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