What makes 'place' attractive to overseas-trained doctors in rural New Zealand?

Health Soc Care Community. 2006 Nov;14(6):532-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2006.00641.x.


The present paper investigates what keeps doctors 'in place' in New Zealand rural communities and what prompts their departure from practice. The study is based on in-depth interviews conducted with nine overseas-trained medical practitioners within rural areas in New Zealand during 2004. A thematic analysis was undertaken. The resulting narratives reveal the unintended circumstances under which respondents often arrived in their rural communities, as well as some of the 'pull' factors which a more relaxed rural lifestyle offers. Recurring themes relating to the attractiveness of place include community loyalty and the enjoyment of 'fully practicing medicine'. Themes which corroded the attractiveness of place included 'entrapment', lack of choice in secondary schooling, restricted spousal employment opportunities, the lack of cultural and entertainment activities, and difficulties accessing continuing medical education. The authors conclude that addressing the question of what makes 'place' attractive to overseas-trained general practitioners in rural New Zealand requires an understanding of place as context rather than mere location.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Career Choice*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Foreign Medical Graduates / psychology*
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • New Zealand
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Professional Practice Location*
  • Rural Health Services*
  • Social Environment
  • Workforce