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Table 5 Major theme and subthemes: Access to continuing professional development (CPD)

From: Retention of allied health professionals in rural New South Wales: a thematic analysis of focus group discussions

Subthemes Example
Cost & travel time You have to pay for it yourself and it makes it really difficult to do professional development You end up begrudging the fact that you want to do it, because you're going to have to take three or four days annual leave to do it, and plus be $400 out of pocket for doing it. You maintain your skills and you stay in that job. So those type of things have made a huge difference to job satisfaction (G2-Female-SP-age 32)
Workload & Management support They're not going to stop people having operations or being admitted to hospital because there are no allied health services. And then they turn around and say, “Because you're short-staffed, we can't allow your staff to go off and do CPD.” So it then becomes a perpetual cycle that – You know, you do lose staff over it. (G6-MGR-Female-age 51)
Support for isolated practitioners I think we kind of sell it short by just calling it professional development, because it's not always just that. It's networking, it's support, it's all these different things that happen during that day, and I've heard people say, “The most useful thing about that day was the lunch break because I got to sit down and talk to other people.” (G6-SW-Male-age 30)
Regional Networks I've worked as a sole therapist in several places, and to be honest I don't feel as much a sole therapist as I have anywhere else because we do a lot of networking and our CPD and things, and it just makes a huge difference to know that you can pick up the phone and talk to someone if you need to. (G2-OT-Female-age 33)
On-line education Well, we know that learning is best achieved in interactive and experiential ways, and this switch through to online learning, just flies in the face of it. (G1-PSY-Female-age 57)
And it's great, we go to the facilities out at this regional university with the technicians supplied, we don't have to worry about whether we can get online or not and it's a fantastic facility. And it's good. And it costs us $30, which is so much superior to having to trek to the city every month. (G4-PSY-Female-age 37)
  1. Balancing geographic isolation against the need for face to face interaction was often accomplished through participation in regional networks. These networks improved access to locally-facilitated CPD, alleviated professional isolation and had a strong effect on both retention and recruitment of allied health professionals to that area.