UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Green Acres" or "Gotham"? : rural job selection by UBC Pharmacy graduates Pearson, Marion Louise


There is a pharmacist shortage in British Columbia that is considered particularly acute in rural and remote locations. As a result, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia has increased enrolment from certain geographic areas, assuming that students will return to these areas on graduation. The main objectives of this study are to determine where pharmacy graduates take their first jobs and the factors that influence their selection of job location. Survey methodology was used, with a written questionnaire being administered to the Class of 2007 after a validation process involving volunteers from the Class of 2006. Mean values of responses on rating scales were compared to assess for statistically significant (p≤O.O5) effects of location size and the demographic variables of age, sex, marital status, and ethnicity. Of 93 respondents who reported both a primary home town and ajob location, only 33(35%) planned to take jobs where they grew up and only 42 (45%) were taking jobs in the same area of the province. The most common migration patterns were from smaller to larger communities and from all over the province into Metro Vancouver. Those who grew up in Metro Vancouver did not leave. However, the majority of those who did take jobs in other areas of the province had lived there previously. The strongest influences on job location were familiarity with the location, ability to get an enjoyable job, pace of life, proximity to significant others, and career and relationship plans. Smaller community size, ability to practice in the manner desired, and pace of work were more important, and access to cultural, entertainment, and/or social activities were less important to those taking jobs in rural rather than urban areas. There were no findings of practical significance associated with the demographic variables examined. The selective admission into 12 specially funded seats in the program of students from geographic areas other than the province’s one large urban centre is modestly effective in ensuring a supply of pharmacists for these areas. However, the use of geography as a criterion for all seats and an increase in the total number of seats would ensure that the student body is more representative of the provincial population and would address both supply and demand aspects of the pharmacist shortage.

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