DR Cath Cosgrave

DR Cath Cosgrave


  • Rural Health workforce - Nursing and allied health (recruitment and retention)
  • rural clinical placements - Nursing and allied health (rural training)



  • I am a social science researcher interested in the lived experiences of people living and working in rural settings. My research specialisations are rural health workforce, recruitment and retention of nursing and allied health professionals; sub-specialisations include: early-career and newcomer health professionals from non-rural backgrounds. I am interested in participatory community-based research approaches and my specific methodological expertise is in participatory action research and grounded theory. My research involves working in partnership with health and community services/groups to develop new, whole-of-person/whole-of-community solutions to health workforce shortages and for addressing the psycho-social needs of newcomer health workers to rural towns. I also have extensive program/project evaluation expertise in the health and community sectors. I am committed to improving access to and the quality of health services for rural communities, especially addressing the health and wellbeing needs of vulnerable population groups, in particular people living with mental illness and their families and carers.   


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • Current rural health workforce research project: I am currently piloting (2017-2019), in partnership with two rural Victorian public health services - an individualised, place-based whole-of-person retention improvement support program. The program targets allied health and nursing professionals who are in early career and/or are newcomers to living in a rural town. The program provides support across the life domains of workplace, career and psycho-social and is tailored to each individual workers’ particular career and life stage. The project goal is to improve job, professional and personal satisfaction levels of new rural health workers to reduce avoidable turnover. The project is using a participatory action research methodology and uses mixed methods. It is also informed by a whole-of-person retention framework that was developed in an earlier study investigating the turnover intentions of public sector mental health workers in rural and remote NSW.   


Education and training

  • PhD, University of New England 2016
  • MA, Monash University 1996
  • BCom, University of Melbourne 1986

Awards and honors

  • Winston Churchill Memorial Trust - 2018 Churchill Fellowship-Sponsored by the Jack Brockhoff Foundation, 2018



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am available to supervise graduate students - research interests include: - Qualitative research - grounded theory, action research, community-based participatory research - Rural health workforce - attracting, recruiting and retaining, nursing, allied health, GPs in primary care and public health settings, early career, grow your own workforce strategies, Aboriginal health workforce - Non-rural newcomer health workers - settling in, adjustment, community engagement, social connection, belonging - Mental health service in rural and remote areas - place-based models