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What Australian nursing students value as important in undertaking rural practice


Terry, DR and Peck, B and Smith, A and Stevenson, T and Nguyen, H and Baker, E, What Australian nursing students value as important in undertaking rural practice, Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care, 20, (1) pp. 32-56. ISSN 1539-3399 (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.14574/ojrnhc.v20i1.589


Background: Rural health services in Australia are continually challenged by both the recruitment and retention of the nursing workforce. The aim of the study was to examine what nursing students consider the most important factors for undertaking a rural career in Australia.

Methods: Nursing students (n=1,982) studying a three-year bachelor’s degree at an Australian University were invited to complete an online survey that examined their rural practice intentions. The questionnaire included demographic, rural background and career intentions, and a modified Nursing Community Apgar Questionnaire (NCAQ).

Results: The factors identified most important among nursing students when considering rural practice include patient safety and high-quality care, having autonomy and respect from management, the establishment of positive relationships and good communication between different generations of nurses, and the work environment providing job satisfaction with good morale.

Conclusions: This study provided insight for rural and regional universities and health services to better demonstrate what students indicate is important to take up rural practice, while highlighting unique challenges for the rural nursing workforce. Key elements are proposed that may be augmented at the university and health service level to guide recruitment and possibly retention. Rural recruitment and retention of new graduate nurses may be better achieved by addressing what nursing students feel are most important to them when considering rural practice, which are focused around management, decision-making, and practice environment factors rather than economic or community-based factors. The greatest importance to students is the ‘fit between’ them and the agency and much less about their ‘fit with’ the community into which they will be entering.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:nursing, rural practice, nurses, students, health workforce, recruitment and retention, community apgar
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Medicine, nursing and health curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Nguyen, H (Dr Hoang Nguyen)
ID Code:139989
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2020-07-22
Last Modified:2021-02-03
Downloads:14 View Download Statistics

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