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Rural Project Examples: Recruitment and retention of health professionals

Effective Examples

MU AHEC Summer Community Program
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Lack of healthcare providers, specifically physicians, in rural Missouri.
  • Intervention: Rising second-year medical students at University of Missouri's School of Medicine are given the opportunity to participate in a clinical program in a rural community setting.
  • Results: Almost half of the participants from 1996-2010 chose to practice in rural locations upon graduation.

Promising Examples

Rural and Underserved APRN Project
Added December 2017
  • Need: To reduce the primary care provider shortage in rural Colorado.
  • Intervention: A "grow your own" initiative in Colorado recruits rural registered nurses and trains them to become advanced practice RNs.
  • Results: 36 RNs have participated in the Rural and Underserved APRN Project so far.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development
Updated/reviewed April 2018
  • Need: To address the increasing need for healthcare providers in the rural and underserved areas of Tennessee.
  • Intervention: The Tennessee Rural Partnership was created to assist in the recruitment, placement, and retention of physicians and healthcare professionals.
  • Results: As of 2016, more than 120 primary care providers have been placed in 70 rural Tennessee communities. In 2018, the entity's name changed to "Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development."
Avera LIGHT
Updated/reviewed March 2018
  • Need: Assistance for Midwest rural physicians who are experiencing burnout due to heavy workload, lack of staff, limited resources, and stress related to the use of electronic medical records.
  • Intervention: Through a variety of methods, Avera LIGHT comes alongside of providers to prevent and treat physician burnout and support their physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
  • Results: Physicians who have been on the brink of quitting because of burnout have stayed on staff as a direct result of executive coaching through Avera LIGHT. The program has helped to build a culture of wellness where providers are encouraged to be proactive in reaching out for help.
Kearny County Hospital’s Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed February 2018
  • Need: Physicians to serve in an increasingly diverse population in rural Kansas.
  • Intervention: Kearny County Hospital changed their recruitment model to include paid time off for doctors and midlevel providers to serve as international service workers, as well as medical school loan forgiveness.
  • Results: Kearny County Hospital has re-opened their services to out-of-county patients and are receiving an increase in applications from medical providers.
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed December 2017
  • Need: Localized specialty and surgery services for residents in rural northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota
  • Intervention: Prairie Lakes Healthcare System expanded their services by recruiting specialty physicians and networking with regional community hospitals to increase patient referrals
  • Results: Patients receive surgery and specialized care closer to home through Prairie Lakes' 26 specialty medical providers and more than 20 specialty services
RS3 – Rural Montana Surgical Support System
Added November 2017
  • Need: Providing more in-state surgical care options for Montana patients.
  • Intervention: A system to keep surgical procedures in Critical Access Hospitals or provide seamless engagement of Montana's available advanced surgical expertise when needed.
  • Results: Increased surgical care options, with a side benefit of recruiting young surgeons to rural/frontier Montana.
Men in Nursing Roundtable
Added October 2017
  • Need: To increase diversity in the nursing workforce, specifically in terms of gender.
  • Intervention: The Men in Nursing Roundtable in Wisconsin meets quarterly to discuss recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Results: About 7 of the 10 roundtable members are from rural hospitals. Group members appreciate the supportive environment and plan to organize educational sessions to encourage more men to pursue careers in nursing.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FORWARD NM Pathways to Health Careers
Updated/reviewed May 2017
  • Need: New Mexico's southwestern counties of Hidalgo, Catron, Luna, and Grant have experienced chronic shortages of primary care providers. New Mexico has the oldest physician population in the country.
  • Intervention: A comprehensive workforce pipeline program, including programming for middle and high school students, undergraduate and graduate students, primary care program students, and medical and dental residents.
  • Results: The program reaches over 2,000 school-aged students throughout the service areas and hosts 70+ rural rotation experiences annually. It has also gained partnership with the HMS-Family Medicine Residency Program since 2013 and designation as an Area Health Education Center (AHEC) since 2012.
Hawai'i Island Family Medicine Residency
Added August 2016
  • Need: Hawaii is experiencing a huge shortage of family medicine physicians.
  • Intervention: The Hawai'i Island Family Medicine Residency (HIFMR) program uses an interprofessional team-based approach so residents learn how to care for many types of patients in different healthcare settings.
  • Results: In 2015, there were over 750 applicants to the residency program, which is now at full capacity with 12 residents. The first class of residents will graduate in June 2017.