Dive into our A-Z guide for clear explanations of key terms as well as our innovative strategies in rural health workforce development. This directory is your go-to resource for understanding and applying effective approaches to strengthen rural communities and health services.

Attract Connect Stay A-Z


Access (in Rural Health Context): The availability and ease of obtaining healthcare services in rural areas, often challenged by geographic isolation and limited healthcare resources. 

Alternative Staffing Models: Exploring innovative staffing models such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, allied health assistants to address healthcare needs in rural areas. 

Avoidable Turnover: Refers to instances where employees leave an organisation due to factors that could potentially be controlled or mitigated by the employer. Such factors might include unsatisfactory work conditions, lack of career advancement opportunities, inadequate compensation, or poor management. In the context of rural health workforce retention, avoidable turnover might be addressed through targeted strategies like improving job satisfaction, offering professional development, or enhancing workplace culture. 

Attract Connect Stay Framework: This is Dr Cosgrave’s evidenced-based framework (referred to in academia as the Whole-of Person Retention Improvement Framework) for improving the attraction and retention of health professionals in rural and remote areas, it encompasses three domains: Workplace/Organisational, Role/Career, and Community/Place. It focuses on creating a supportive workplace, offering career development opportunities, and fostering community belonging. 

Attract Connect Stay Launchpad Program: A comprehensive initiative based on the Attract Connect Stay Framework, this program is structured around five key pillars: 1. Attract, 2. Recruit, 3. Settle & Connect (Organisation), 4. Settle & Connect (Community), and 5. Stay. Participants in this program gain a practical understanding of each pillar, equipping them with the necessary skills to create and implement bespoke strategies tailored to their specific organisation and community. The program’s holistic approach ensures a thorough comprehension of how to effectively attract, recruit, settle, connect, and retain individuals within both the organisational and community context.


Benefits: Highlighting the unique benefits of working in regional or rural healthcare or social settings, such as a sense of community and lower cost of living. 


Community Engagement (in Rural Health Context): Involving the local community in skilled worker recruitment and retention efforts to build trust and understanding.

Community Connector Program (CCP): An integral part of the Attract Connect Stay Framework, CCP is a proven community-engaged program, managed and funded by a local business/ community collaboration. CCP core program is to provide a tailored concierge service to assist re-locating skilled workers and their families with their initial settling in needs and social connection. The service is provided by a locally recruited Community Connector(s). The program fosters community integration, attracts and retains skilled workers, and contributes to long-term community growth and wellbeing. 

Continuous Recruitment: Implementing continuous, year-round recruitment efforts rather than seasonal campaigns to maintain a steady influx of health professionals and other skilled workers drawn from out-of-region 

Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Ongoing learning activities professionals engage in to enhance their skills and knowledge, often required for maintaining licensure or accreditation. 


Data Analytics: Utilising data analytics to understand and address specific healthcare and social care challenges in regional and rural areas and optimise recruitment strategies. 

Diversity (in the Attract Connect Stay context): inclusion of individuals from various backgrounds, cultures, and experiences within the community. Recognising the value of a diverse workforce and community, contributing to a richer and more vibrant environment. 


Equity: The principle of fairness in health care and social care, ensuring that everyone has access to necessary health professionals regardless of their geographical location.  

 Evidenced-based: Practices or methods substantiated by a combination of qualitative and/or quantitative research. This approach involves systematic and rigorous investigation. The Attract Connect Stay Framework is evidenced-based. 

Evidenced-informed: Approaches that incorporate a range of evidence types, including scientific studies, professional expertise, and practical experiences, allowing for greater adaptability to specific contexts. 

Education and Training: Providing ongoing education and training opportunities to healthcare professionals in regional and rural areas to enhance their skills. 

Electronic Health Records (EHR): Implementing user-friendly EHR systems to streamline healthcare processes and attract health professionals who value efficient technology. 

Employer Value Proposition: The unique set of benefits and advantages that an employer offers its workers. It encompasses the rewards, opportunities, and support provided, aiming to attract and retain talented and highly-skilled professionals. 

Extrinsic Rewards: External, tangible benefits provided to workers from their job. They encompass salary, work conditions, physical work environment, job security, and other material benefits or compensations such as health insurance, retirement plans, and bonuses. 


Financial Incentives: Offering financial incentives such as relocation assistance, accommodation support (both short and medium term), or additional CPD support to attract healthcare professionals to rural settings. 

Flexibility: Offering flexible work arrangements including  remote and hybrid work to support work/life balance and family commitments of existing staff and to attract more applicants for vacancies.


Government Support: Advocating for government support and incentives to attract health professionals and other skilled workers drawn from out-of-region to regional and rural areas. 


Holistic Care Approach: Emphasising a holistic approach to healthcare and social care that considers the social, economic, and cultural factors impacting rural communities. 

Housing Assistance: Providing assistance or incentives for health professionals and other skilled workers drawn from out-of-region to find affordable housing in regional and rural communities. 


Integration: Integrating healthcare and social care services with other community resources to create a holistic approach to rural health and social care. 

Interprofessional Collaboration: Promoting collaboration among health professionals from various disciplines to provide comprehensive care in rural settings. 

Intrinsic Rewards: These are internal, psychological rewards that workers gain from their role. They include a sense of accomplishment, autonomy in decision-making, the challenge and meaningfulness of the work, personal growth, and the satisfaction derived from helping others or contributing to their community. 


Job Fairs: Organising job fairs and recruitment events to connect health professionals and other skilled workers drawn from out-of-region with job opportunities in regional and rural areas. 

Joint Recruitment Efforts: Collaborating with neighbouring health care and social care facilities and communities for joint recruitment initiatives, sharing resources and expertise. 

Personal Satisfaction: The fulfillment workers derive from their life outside of work, including their sense of community, belonging, social connections, work-life balance, family support, and access to cultural and recreational activities. 


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Establishing KPIs to measure the success of rural healthcare recruitment and retention efforts and make data-driven adjustments. 

Knowledge Transfer: Facilitating knowledge transfer and mentorship programs to support the development of health professionals and other skilled workers drawn from out-of-region in regional and rural settings. 


Leadership Development: Investing in leadership development programs to empower local health professionals to take on leadership roles within rural healthcare and social care organisations. 

Locum Tenens: Exploring locum tenens arrangements to fill temporary gaps in staffing ( particularly used to address shortages in medical and nursing workforce)and provide healthcare coverage in regional and rural areas. 


Maldistribution of Health Workforce: An uneven distribution of health professionals, with an oversupply in metropolitan areas and undersupply in rural areas. 

Marketing: Developing effective marketing strategies to promote rural healthcare and social care job opportunities in regional and rural areas to potential candidates. 

Mobile Healthcare Units: Implementing mobile healthcare units to reach rural and remote areas and provide essential healthcare services, attracting health professionals who value community outreach. 

Multidisciplinary Healthcare: Involves professionals from different health disciplines working parallelly or independently, contributing their expertise to patient care, but often with separate plans or goals. 


Networking: Building strong networks with local educational institutions, professional organisations, and healthcare and social care agencies to support recruitment efforts.

Networking Events: Hosting networking events that connect rural healthcare and social care organisations with health professionals, creating opportunities for dialogue and relationship building. 


Occupational Health Focus: Recognising the occupational health needs of rural populations, especially in industries such as agriculture, and tailoring recruitment strategies accordingly. 

Outreach Programs: Implementing outreach programs to engage with health professionals and students who may be interested in rural practice. 


Person Centred (Recruitment & Retention context): involves tailoring recruitment strategies to align with the individual aspirations, values, and goals of potential candidates. It aims to create a recruitment process that respects and addresses the unique qualities and needs of each candidate, enhancing the likelihood of attracting professionals who are a ‘good fit’ for a rural community. 

Personal Satisfaction: The fulfillment derived from personal life aspects for health professionals, encompassing intrinsic factors like a sense of community, belonging, social connections, and work-life balance, as well as extrinsic elements such as family support and access to leisure activities. 

Placed-based: Approaches or strategies tailored to the unique characteristics, needs, and social dynamics of a specific geographic location or community. The place-based concept emphasises the importance of local context and community engagement in developing effective solutions. 

Preceptorship Programs: Establishing preceptorship programs (term usually used in the nursing workforce) that allow healthcare students to gain real-world experience in rural settings, fostering interest in rural practice. 

Public Relations: Managing public relations to create a positive image of rural healthcare and social care, emphasising its importance and impact. 


Quality Improvement Initiatives: Implementing quality improvement initiatives to enhance the overall standard of healthcare and social care in regional and rural areas, making them more attractive to prospective professionals. 

Quality of Life: Emphasising the high quality of life that regional and rural areas can offer, including a close-knit community and natural surroundings. 


Recruitment metrics: e.g Time to hire (duration between the job posting and the new hires’ start date ), Cost per Hire (Cost of hiring a new employee includes advertising costs, recruiter fees, interview expenses, and other associated costs)  

Regional: Areas outside major cities, typically encompassing smaller cities or larger towns with more developed infrastructure than rural areas, but less than urban centres. 

Retention metrics: Early turnover rate (dividing number of employees who left in a year from their date of joining by the total number of employees who left during same period multiplied by 100); Turnover rate (dividing number of employees who left in certain period by the average number of employees during same period multiplied by 100), Retention rate (percentage of employees who remain in a certain period) 

 Retention Strategies: Developing effective retention strategies to keep healthcare professionals in rural positions for the long term. 

Rural: Small towns and communities in non-urban regions, often isolated with limited infrastructure and healthcare and social care services. 

Rural Health Advocacy: Engaging in advocacy efforts at local, regional, and national levels to highlight the importance of rural healthcare and social to help garner support for recruitment initiatives. 

Rural Health Workforce Pipeline: A series of initiatives to attract, educate, and retain healthcare professionals in rural areas, starting from student recruitment to ongoing support for practitioners in rural communities, aimed at addressing healthcare workforce shortages in these areas. 


Social Processes (in Rural Health Workforce Context): Refers to the interactions, relationships, and community dynamics that significantly influence the retention of health professionals in regional and rural areas. These processes include how individuals engage with the local community, form professional and personal relationships, adapt to rural lifestyles, and integrate into the social fabric of the particular town. They are crucial in determining a health professional’s sense of belonging and satisfaction in a rural healthcare or social care environment. 

Student Outreach: Reaching out to students in health-related fields through partnerships with educational institutions, offering internships, and providing exposure to rural practice. 

Support Systems: Establishing support systems, such as mentorship programs and peer support groups, to help healthcare professionals adapt to rural practice. 


Technology Adoption: Embracing technology in healthcare and social care delivery, including telemedicine and remote monitoring, to attract professionals who value innovation. 

Telehealth Opportunities: Leveraging telehealth technologies to expand healthcare and social care services in regional rural areas and provide remote support. 


Unavoidable Turnover: Refers to situations where employees leave for reasons beyond the control of the employer. These could include personal reasons such as family commitments, children’s schooling, relocation for a partner’s career, health issues, or retirement. In the rural health context, unavoidable turnover mostly occurs due to factors inherent to either rural living limitations or personal life changes of the healthcare professionals. 

Utilisation of Community Resources: Leveraging local resources and community partnerships to enhance healthcare services and make rural practice more appealing. 


Volunteer Involvement: Involving volunteers from the community in healthcare initiatives, creating a sense of shared responsibility and community engagement. 

Volunteer Programs: Implementing volunteer programs to engage local community members in supporting healthcare initiatives. 


Wellness Programs: Prioritising wellness programs for healthcare professionals to enhance their overall well-being. 

Work-Life Balance: Emphasising the importance of work-life balance in rural healthcare settings to attract professionals seeking a healthier lifestyle. 


Youth Initiatives: Encouraging initiatives that expose youth in rural areas to healthcare careers and foster interest in the field. 


Zero-Barrier Recruitment: Minimising barriers to entry for healthcare professionals interested in rural practice, such as simplifying licensing processes and offering mentorship programs.