Rural Community Nurses: Insights into Health Workforce and Health Service Needs in Tasmania
Terry, DR and Barrett, A and Le, Q and Hoang, Ha, Rural Community Nurses: Insights into Health Workforce and Health Service Needs in Tasmania, Conference proceedings, 14-15 March 2014, Vancouver, Canader, pp. 58. (2014) [Conference Extract]
Community nurses often work in isolation, particularly in rural areas where many other non-government adjunct health services are absent. At times, they feel overwhelmed, stressed and undervalued while undertaking diverse responsibilities. The study aimed to examine the benefits and challenges community nurses experience when working in rural and remote areas of Tasmania, Australia while determining the speciality skills and practices to meet rural health needs. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with a convenient sample of 30 community nurses from the North and North-west areas of Tasmania. This was to provide insight into the rural workforce challenges, gaps in services and the community nurses lived experience of providing adequate health services to these communities. The rural community nursing role remains less well defined and is influenced by many factors such as an ageing population, chronic diseases and a higher number of patients with complex needs. This has led to overwork and difficulty in maintaining certain responsibilities within the role, such as health promotion and anticipatory care. The project findings offer directions for developing better policy for healthcare provision in ways that address current and future workforce and health needs within rural communities, particularly among older citizens.