How Jeanie’s Rural Workforce Integration Program is tackling the healthcare crisis in rural Australia.

The number of dental workers available to city residents in Australia is vast compared to the number available to regional and rural residents.

In 2017, Australian cities had 66 practicing dentists per 100,000 compared with remote/very remote regions, who had 19 dentists for the same population.

The National Rural Health Alliance reported in 2019 people in rural, regional and remote Australia experience poor oral health at significantly higher rates than people living in major cities. With poor oral health increasing, the likelihood of long term chronic diseases does, too.

In many ways, the fundamental disparity of dental workers in rural Australia is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Our research shows that workers often don’t know about the benefits of living in a rural area, nor how to integrate effectively with the community. This alone is a major barrier to attraction and retention.

Jeanie’s Rural Workforce Integration program is offered to organisations who employ skilled workforce in rural locations.

Jeanie’s successfully attracts professionals to rural career opportunities and helps new workforce build connections and competencies quickly.

“The investment in time and money to attract and retain workforce is huge,” says Dr Cindy Dennis, CEO of Jeanie.

“In addition, employing organisations are under immense pressure to provide a range of support to new employees, sometimes with limited resources. We have found employees often overlook amazing career opportunities because they are concerned that support is not available for them and their families.” 

Jeanie’s Rural Workforce Integration programs fill this gap. Programs are customised to reduce the stress and cost for employers, and provide employees with optimal learning opportunities, including how to integrate into regional communities.

In Streaky Bay, Eyre Peninsula South Australia (population: 1,625), solo-practitioner dentist and business owner Dr Carol Koch signed up to the program when she employed new graduate, Dr Penny Teo.

“There’s a crisis in finding providers in dentistry in rural areas of SA, and Jeanie is filling this gap. It’s really good to have someone else who’s done that leg work for you,” says Dr Carol.

“This program has exposed me to more clinical work, especially with more complex cases with the oversight of Dr Carol. It’s a greater learning curve, and it’s a quicker way to get clinical experience and build up your competency,” says Dr Penny.

Read more about Dr Carol’s experience and Dr Penny’s experience.

Jeanie designs and develops programs and strategies for the rural workforce, including workshops, experiences and Rural Workforce Integration programs for a range of organisations seeking to attract and retain skilled workforce, including the health sector. We base our programs on building relationships between organisations, communities, and employees.

To learn more, contact us here to see how our program can benefit your organisation, and in turn your rural community.

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