Destinations of nursing and allied health graduates from two Australian universities: A data linkage study to inform rural placement models

Keith Sutton, Julie Depczynski, Tony Smith, Eleanor Mitchell, Luke Wakely, Leanne J. Brown, Susan Waller, Daniel Drumm, Vincent L. Versace, Karin Fisher, Alison Beauchamp

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Combined, nursing and allied health constitute most of the Australian health workforce; yet, little is known about graduate practice destinations. University Departments of Rural Health have collaborated on the Nursing and Allied Health Graduate Outcomes Tracking to investigate graduate entry into rural practice. Design: Data linkage cohort study. Setting: Monash University and the University of Newcastle. Participants: Graduates who completed their degree in 2017 across seven disciplines. Main outcome measure(s): The outcome variable was Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency principal place of practice data. Explanatory variables included discipline, age, gender, location of origin, and number and duration of rural placements. Result: Of 1130 graduates, 51% were nurses, 81% females, 62% under 21 years at enrolment, 23% of rural origin, 62% had at least one rural student placement, and 23% had over 40 cumulative rural placement days. At the time of their second Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency registration, 18% worked in a ‘Rural principal place of practice.’ Compared to urban, rural origin graduates had 4.45 times higher odds ratio of ‘Rural principal place of practice.’ For graduates who had <20 cumulative rural placement days, compared to zero the odds ratio of ‘Rural principal place of practice’ was the same (odds ratio = 1.10). For those who had 20-40 rural placement days, the odds ratio was 1.93, and for >40 rural placement days, the odds ratio was 4.54). Conclusion: Rural origin and more rural placement days positively influenced graduate rural practice destinations. Outcomes of cumulative placements days may compare to immersive placements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191–200
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2021


  • graduate tracking
  • health workforce
  • Rural Health
  • tertiary education

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