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Rural Health Information Hub

Workforce Sustainability

Improving mental health workforce retention in rural areas is an important way to create sustainable programs. There is a rural mental health workforce shortage, so communities need to determine creative ways to recruit and retain healthcare employees.

There are numerous ways to create workforce sustainability in rural areas, including loan repayment programs such as that offered by the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). Another option is to create a network or recruitment consortium where multiple rural programs pool their resources to recruit healthcare employees. Rural communities can also increase awareness of job openings through multiple mediums such as social media, television, or radio. Referral bonuses to current employees is a tactic to incentivize employees to recruit new staff.

Rural communities should also consider the overall community support infrastructure, including child care, education, and quality of life when recruiting providers and their families. Overall, recruiting and retaining mental health employees in rural areas is essential for creating sustainable programs.

Resources to Learn More

4 Ways to Increase Healthcare Employee Retention
Describes various strategies for retaining healthcare staff.
Author(s): Flanagan, T.
Organization(s): HealthCare Recruiters International
Date: 5/2016

NHSC Loan Repayment
Describes loan repayment programs for healthcare providers who agree to serve for a specified time in an NHSC-approved site.
Organization(s): National Health Service Corps (NHSC)

Workforce Planning: How to Recruit and Retain Mental Health Workers
Describes various strategies for recruiting and retaining mental healthcare staff.
Author(s): Kadis, J.
Organization(s): Community Living Briefs