Background: Increasing the number of Indigenous health professionals is seen as one of the key strategies needed to work towards improving health outcomes for Indigenous Australians. Concerns over attrition rates in health science courses at the University of South Australia led to a qualitative research project being undertaken, focusing on an exploration of the reasons as to why this was occurrmg.
Results and Conclusions: For people who were no longer enrolled, the reasons for this, apart from having graduated successfully, included work/life balance issues, and reading and writing concerns. Positive outcomes for individuals were also cited, such as enrolment at the University of South Australia leading to them being able to undertake alternative programs of study that had been their first preferences. Some individuals simply stated that a particular career was “not right for me”. People were very positive about scholarships and flexible modes of enrolment. However more personalised forms of support had variable responses.
Several key subpopulations emerged as particularly vulnerable. These included people who were studying externally (particularly full-time); older students, and those who had to experience structured change.