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      Factors behind job preferences of Peruvian medical, nursing and midwifery students: a qualitative study focused on rural deployment

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          Deployment of health workforce in rural areas is critical to reach universal health coverage. Students’ perceptions towards practice in rural areas likely influence their later choice of a rural post. We aimed at exploring perceptions of students from health professions about career choice, job expectations, motivations and potential incentives to work in a rural area.


          In-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted among medical, nursing and midwifery students from universities of two Peruvian cities (Ica and Ayacucho). Themes for assessment and analysis included career choice, job expectations, motivations and incentives, according to a background theory a priori built for the study purpose.


          Preference for urban jobs was already established at this undergraduate level. Solidarity, better income expectations, professional and personal recognition, early life experience and family models influenced career choice. Students also expressed altruism, willingness to choose a rural job after graduation and potential responsiveness to incentives for practising in rural areas, which emerged more frequent from the discourse of nursing and midwifery students and from all students of rural origin. Medical students expressed expectations to work in large urban hospitals offering higher salaries. They showed higher personal, professional and family welfare expectations. Participants consistently favoured both financial and non-financial incentives.


          Nursing and midwifery students showed a higher disposition to work in rural areas than medical doctors, which was more evident in students of rural origin. Our results may be useful to improve targeting and selection of undergraduate students, to stimulate the inclination of students to choose a rural job upon graduation and to reorient school programmes towards the production of socially committed health professionals. Policymakers may also consider using our results when planning and implementing interventions to improve rural deployment of health professionals.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Staffing remote rural areas in middle- and low-income countries: A literature review of attraction and retention

          Background Many countries in middle- and low-income countries today suffer from severe staff shortages and/or maldistribution of health personnel which has been aggravated more recently by the disintegration of health systems in low-income countries and by the global policy environment. One of the most damaging effects of severely weakened and under-resourced health systems is the difficulty they face in producing, recruiting, and retaining health professionals, particularly in remote areas. Low wages, poor working conditions, lack of supervision, lack of equipment and infrastructure as well as HIV and AIDS, all contribute to the flight of health care personnel from remote areas. In this global context of accelerating inequities health service policy makers and managers are searching for ways to improve the attraction and retention of staff in remote areas. But the development of appropriate strategies first requires an understanding of the factors which influence decisions to accept and/or stay in a remote post, particularly in the context of mid and low income countries (MLICS), and which strategies to improve attraction and retention are therefore likely to be successful. It is the aim of this review article to explore the links between attraction and retention factors and strategies, with a particular focus on the organisational diversity and location of decision-making. Methods This is a narrative literature review which took an iterative approach to finding relevant literature. It focused on English-language material published between 1997 and 2007. The authors conducted Pubmed searches using a range of different search terms relating to attraction and retention of staff in remote areas. Furthermore, a number of relevant journals as well as unpublished literature were systematically searched. While the initial search included articles from high- middle- and low-income countries, the review focuses on middle- and low-income countries. About 600 papers were initially assessed and 55 eventually included in the review. Results The authors argue that, although factors are multi-facetted and complex, strategies are usually not comprehensive and often limited to addressing a single or limited number of factors. They suggest that because of the complex interaction of factors impacting on attraction and retention, there is a strong argument to be made for bundles of interventions which include attention to living environments, working conditions and environments and development opportunities. They further explore the organisational location of decision-making related to retention issues and suggest that because promising strategies often lie beyond the scope of human resource directorates or ministries of health, planning and decision-making to improve retention requires multi-sectoral collaboration within and beyond government. The paper provides a simple framework for bringing the key decision-makers together to identify factors and develop multi-facetted comprehensive strategies. Conclusion There are no set answers to the problem of attraction and retention. It is only through learning about what works in terms of fit between problem analysis and strategy and effective navigation through the politics of implementation that any headway will be made against the almost universal challenge of staffing health service in remote rural areas.
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            Skill mix in the health care workforce: reviewing the evidence.

             R Poz,  James Buchan (2001)
            This paper discusses the reasons for skill mix among health workers being important for health systems. It examines the evidence base (identifying its limitations), summarizes the main findings from a literature review, and highlights the evidence on skill mix that is available to inform health system managers, health professionals, health policy-makers and other stakeholders. Many published studies are merely descriptive accounts or have methodological weaknesses. With few exceptions, the published analytical studies were undertaken in the USA, and the findings may not be relevant to other health systems. The results from even the most rigorous of studies cannot necessarily be applied to a different setting. This reflects the basis on which skill mix should be examined--identifying the care needs of a specific patient population and using these to determine the required skills of staff. It is therefore not possible to prescribe in detail a "universal" ideal mix of health personnel. With these limitations in mind, the paper examines two main areas in which investigating current evidence can make a significant contribution to a better understanding of skill mix. For the mix of nursing staff, the evidence suggests that increased use of less qualified staff will not be effective in all situations, although in some cases increased use of care assistants has led to greater organizational effectiveness. Evidence on the doctor-nurse overlap indicates that there is unrealized scope in many systems for extending the use of nursing staff. The effectiveness of different skill mixes across other groups of health workers and professions, and the associated issue of developing new roles remain relatively unexplored.
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              Compulsory service programmes for recruiting health workers in remote and rural areas: do they work?

              Compulsory service programmes have been used worldwide as a way to deploy and retain a professional health workforce within countries. Other names for these programmes include "obligatory", "mandatory", "required" and "requisite." All these different programme names refer to a country's law or policy that governs the mandatory deployment and retention of a heath worker in the underserved and/or rural areas of the country for a certain period of time. This study identified three different types of compulsory service programmes in 70 countries. These programmes are all governed by some type of regulation, ranging from a parliamentary law to a policy within the ministry of health. Depending on the country, doctors, nurses, midwives and all types of professional allied health workers are required to participate in the programme. Some of the compliance-enforcement measures include withholding full registration until obligations are completed, withholding degree and salary, or imposing large fines. This paper aims to explain these programmes more clearly, to identify countries that have or had such programmes, to develop a typology for the different kinds and to discuss the programmes in the light of important issues that are related to policy concepts and implementation. As governments consider the cost of investment in health professionals' education, the loss of health professionals to emigration and the lack of health workers in many geographic areas, they are using compulsory service requirements as a way to deploy and retain the health workforce.

                Author and article information

                Hum Resour Health
                Hum Resour Health
                Human Resources for Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                2 December 2015
                2 December 2015
                : 13
                [ ]Instituto Nacional de Salud del Niño, Lima, Peru
                [ ]School of Medicine, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
                [ ]School of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru
                [ ]Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral y Sostenible, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
                [ ]CRONICAS Centre of Excellence in Chronic Diseases, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
                [ ]Project Development and Evaluation, Universidad ESAN, Lima, Peru
                [ ]Salud Sin Límites Perú, Lima, Peru
                [ ]School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
                [ ]Department of Parasitology, US Naval Medical Research Unit 6 (NAMRU-6), Lima, Peru
                [ ]Public Health Training Program, US Naval Medical Research Unit 6 (NAMRU-6), Lima, Peru
                [ ]Batallón Libres de Trujillo 227, LI33 Lima, Peru
                © Huicho et al. 2015

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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