Search this journal:     Advanced search
Conference Report

What keeps health professionals working in rural district hospitals in South Africa?

Louis S. Jenkins, Colette Gunst, Julia Blitz, Johan F. Coetzee

African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine; Vol 7, No 1 (2015), 5 pages. doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v7i1.805

Submitted: 01 December 2014
Published:  26 June 2015

Abstract

Background: The theme of the 2014 Southern African Rural Health Conference was ‘Building resilience in facing rural realities’. Retaining health professionals in South Africa is critical for sustainable health services. Only 12% of doctors and 19% of nurses have been retained in the rural areas. The aim of the workshop was to understand from health practitioners why they continued working in their rural settings.

Conference workshop: The workshop consisted of 29 doctors, managers, academic family physicians, nurses and clinical associates from Southern Africa, with work experience from three weeks to 13 years, often in deep rural districts. Using the nominal group technique, the following question was explored, ‘What is it that keeps you going to work every day?’ Participants reflected on their work situation and listed and rated the important reasons for continuing to work.

Results: Five main themes emerged. A shared purpose, emanating from a deep sense of meaning, was the strongest reason for staying and working in a rural setting. Working in a team was second most important, with teamwork being related to attitudes and relationships, support from visiting specialists and opportunities to implement individual clinical skills. A culture of support was third, followed by opportunities for growth and continuing professional development, including teaching by outreaching specialists. The fifth theme was a healthy work-life balance.

Conclusion: Health practitioners continue to work in rural settings for often deeper reasons relating to a sense of meaning, being part of a team that closely relate to each other and feeling supported.


Full Text:  |  HTML  |  EPUB  |  XML  |  PDF (289KB)

Author affiliations

Louis S. Jenkins, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Western Cape Department of Health, South Africa
Colette Gunst, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Western Cape Department of Health, South Africa
Julia Blitz, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Johan F. Coetzee, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Metrics

Total abstract views: 1337
Total article views: 2228  

Cited-By

1. Levels of burnout among registrars and medical officers working at Bloemfontein public healthcare facilities in 2013
U Sirsawy, WJ Steinberg, JE Raubenheimer
South African Family Practice  first page: 1  year: 2016  
doi: 10.1080/20786190.2016.1198088

Comments on this article

Before posting your comment, please read our policy.
Post a Comment (Login required)


ISSN: 2071-2928 (print) | ISSN: 2071-2936 (online)

Connect on: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube

Subscribe to our newsletter

All articles published in this journal are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, unless otherwise stated.

Website design & content: ©2016 AOSIS (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved. No unauthorised duplication allowed.

AOSIS Publishing | Empowering Africa through access to knowledge
Postnet Suite #110, Private Bag X19, Durbanville, South Africa, 7551
Tel: 086 1000 381 
Tel: +27 21 975 2602 
Fax: 086 5004 974

publishing(AT)aosis.co.za replace (AT) with @

Please read the privacy statement.