• Muhammad Arif College of Public Health and Health Informatics, Qassim University, Saudi Arabia
  • John Fraser School of Rural Medicine, University of New England
  • Mary Cruickshank Federation University



Recruitment, Retention, Migration, Resettlement, Career decision-making, Doctors/ physicians, Pakistan


Background: The recruitment, retention and migration of health workers is a global phenomenon. The literature shows push factors associated with leaving rural areas and developing countries in general are explored in depth. However importantly, some health workers behave differently and decide to stay in or return to a developing country. Less is known about the reasons/ pull factors of this groups’ decision making. Methods: This paper aims to explore the perceptions of Pakistani physicians regarding their career decisions to remain in their country, or resettle back after working abroad for some time. Thirteen Pakistani physicians were interviewed via telephones who were working in Pakistan and Australia. Results: The motivation for Pakistani physicians to remain or resettle back into their country stems from the perceived better quality of life in Pakistan compared to the better standard of life overseas. Other reasons include a perceived differentiation between locals and non-locals abroad and the availability of a permanent job in Pakistan. Conclusion: The main factors that contributed to Pakistani physicians’ retention and resettlement decisions were mostly personal and family or societal factors and there was a minimal role for professional or health system related factors in their career decisions, except for the availability of permanent jobs in Pakistan.

Author Biography

Mary Cruickshank, Federation University

Dr Mary Cruickshank is an Adjunct Professor of Nursing at Federation University Australia and an Adjunct Professor at the ASEAN Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University, Thailand.  Mary has several years’ experience of senior management and leadership roles across Health in the higher education sector and more specifically in Nursing and Midwifery. She has held academic positions at five universities in Australia and has served as Professor and Head of School at three of those universities. Mary recently finished her term as Professor and Head of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare in the Faculty of Health at Federation University.  Dr Cruickshank has had extensive experience in leading the development of high-quality, innovative, and accredited undergraduate and postgraduate health curricula with many programs using online pedagogies. Mary is an experienced researcher in the healthcare field and has conducted numerous national and international projects with a focus on building leadership roles in health. She has published widely in areas including health workforce and capacity-building, clinical health, organisational culture, evidence-based practice, nursing, health education and rural health. Mary has supervised many PhD candidates to successful completion, and she has been a peer reviewer for several national and international journals throughout her academic career.


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