Private practice in rural areas: An unhappy opportunity for dietitians

Leanne Brown, Lana Mitchell, Lauren Williams, Lesley Macdonald-Wicks, Sandra Capra

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the current demography of rural dietetic private practice and to determine the drivers and barriers for further development.

    Design: A sequential explanatory mixed methods approach was used. Document searches and semistructured in-depth individual interviews were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data.

    Setting: Six rural case study sites of dietetic service delivery in rural northern New South Wales.

    Participants: Forty key informants including past and present dietitians, dietetic managers and health service managers were recruited, of these a subset of 15 interviews included discussion or comments about private practice in rural areas.

    Main outcomes measures: Themes identified from the interview transcripts, Medicare enhanced primary care consultation data and public/private dietetic staffing levels from document searches.

    Results: Private practice staffing ranged between 0% and 26% of the dietetic workforce across the six sites in 2006. Themes relating to the drivers and barriers for private practice were identified: financial factors, job satisfaction, opportunities for private practice and establishing private practice.

    Conclusions: There is an opportunity for growth of private practice to meet the gap in public dietetic services in rural areas.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-196
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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