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Recruitment and Retention for Rural Health Facilities – Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Other Project Examples

Health Profession Rural Summer Immersion Program
Added June 2020
  • Need: To expose medical and physician assistant students to rural healthcare practices and a rural lifestyle.
  • Intervention: A two-week immersion program for second-year students to experience rural healthcare and rural life in Connecticut and New York.
  • Results: In post-program evaluations from 2016 to 2018, 50% of students reported being very likely to practice in a rural setting, compared to just over 10% of students before the program.
Avera LIGHT
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: Assistance for urban and rural physicians — as well as other healthcare providers — who are experiencing burnout and other issues associated with well-being.
  • Intervention: As part of its provider well-being focus in its rural and urban facilities, Avera Health system has created a program which attends to physician wellness issues starting with recruitment with continued support through retirement.
  • Results: With increasing engagement due to word of mouth, the program creates a culture of wellness where stigma is decreased and providers are encouraged to be proactive in reaching out for assistance for issues related to their personal and professional well-being.
Rural Recruitment Reimagined Workshop Presents the "Safe Sites" Model
Added January 2020
  • Need: Strategies to recruit and retain providers to practice in rural settings.
  • Intervention: A traveling one-day workshop was designed to share ideas and firsthand accounts on successful strategies on how to create "Safe Sites" for new recruits.
  • Results: So far, workshops have trained over 185 hospital administrators, board members, and rural hospital recruiters.
Kearny County Hospital's Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed October 2019
  • 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 January 2019
  • 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.
Hawai'i Island Family Medicine Residency
Updated/reviewed December 2018
  • 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 2017, the first class of residents graduated from a fully accredited program as Board-certified Family Medicine physicians. There were over 1,000 applicants to the residency program, and the residency increased its complement from 4 to 6 residents per year.

Last Updated: 6/15/2020