Supporting GP advanced rural skills training


Correspondence: Ms Jane Hollins, James Cook University, PO Box 1395, Atherton, Queensland, 4883, Australia. Email:



The aim of this study was to: investigate doctors' experiences of support during GP advanced rural skills training, and identify strategies to improve support.


The qualitative responses from a cross-sectional, postal survey are reported.


Rural vocational training sector.


Sixty-one doctors who had completed GP advanced rural skills training (procedural or non-procedural) in Queensland between 1995 and June 2009 participated in the study.

Main outcome measure

Advanced trained doctors' experiences of support and their strategy recommendations to improve support.


Experiences and strategies to improve support were developed into a framework of support, consisting of three theme areas. Strategies included: provision of training and career advice to allow immediate use of advanced skills; introduction of rural attachments and rural case studies during training to ensure rural orientation; development of GP mentor and peer networks for clinical and non-clinical support; advocacy to improve understanding and recognition of advanced rural skills training.


Expanded support is required across the pre-enrolment, training, early practice continuum. A holistic approach to support is required. Training providers, professional bodies, health departments, universities and workforce agencies need to work together to address and resource the support needs of advanced, rural GP trainees before, during and after training.