Design and implementation characteristics of research training for rural health professionals: a qualitative descriptive study

Claire Quilliam, Anna Wong Shee, Denise Corboy, Kristen Glenister, Olivia King, Kevin Mc Namara, Laura Alston, Drew Aras, Alison Beauchamp, Carol McKinstry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Research capacity and capability of rural health professionals is essential to the delivery of evidence-based care and for informing strategies to address rural health inequities. Effective implementation of research education and training is fundamental to building rural health professional research capacity and capability. A lack of overarching guidance to inform the delivery of research education and training in rural health services can contribute to gaps in capacity-building approaches. The aim of this study was to identify characteristics of the design and implementation of current research training for rural health professionals in Victoria, Australia, to inform a future model for rural health professional research capacity and capability building. METHODS: A qualitative descriptive study was undertaken. Key informants, with extensive knowledge of research education and training in rural health services in Victoria, were invited to participate in semi-structured telephone interviews via snowballing recruitment methods. Interview transcripts were analysed inductively, with themes and codes mapped to the domains of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. RESULTS: Of the 40 key informants approached, 20 agreed to participate including 11 regional health service managers, five rural health academics and four university managers. Participants suggested that research training varied in quality and relevance to rural health professionals. Training costs and lack of tailoring to the rural context were key barriers, whereas experiential learning and flexible modes of delivery enabled training uptake. Health service and government policies, structures, and processes both enabled or stifled implementation opportunities, with rural health professional networks from different regions offering capacity for research training development, and government departmental structures hampering training coordination. Tension between research activities and clinical practice, and health professional knowledge and beliefs, shaped the delivery of training programs. Strategically planned and evaluated research training programs and education via co-design with rural health professionals and use of research champions were strongly recommended by participants. CONCLUSIONS: To optimise research training for rural health professionals and increase the quality and quantity of relevant rural health research, a systematically planned, implemented, and resourced region-wide research training model is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2023


  • Capacity building
  • Education
  • Health occupations
  • Research
  • Rural health services
  • Rural population

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