Determinants of the Choice of Rural Practice

A Study of Yugoslav General Practitioners

Published in: Journal of Medical Education, v. 50, no. 6,June 1975, p. 615-623

by Laurence Rubenstein, Lisa V. Rubenstein, Philip Elkin, Sandra P. Elkin

A questionnaire study of Yugoslav general practitioners was undertaken to document reasons for the unpopularity of rural practice and to characterize better the GPs who do choose rural practice. Responses indicated that rural GPs were significantly more overworked, had less opportunity for continuing education, had poorer medical facilities, and had less adequate schools for their children than urban GPs. On the other hand, rural work was felt to be more interesting and to provide closer contact with patients. GPs who were happy in rural practice were more likely to have urban backgrounds, to have planned to be rural physicians before entering medical school, and to have undergone GP specialization training than were other GPs in the sample. Relative importances attributed to the various practice location determinants are noted. Possible applications of the study in alleviating rural doctor shortages are discussed.

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