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What Australian nursing students value as important in undertaking rural practice

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Terry, DR, Peck, B, Smith, A, Stevenson, T, Nguyen, H ORCID: 0000-0003-4281-5948 and Baker, E 2020 , 'What Australian nursing students value as important in undertaking rural practice' , Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care, vol. 20, no. 1 , pp. 32-56 , doi: 10.14574/ojrnhc.v20i1.589.

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Abstract

Background: Rural health services in Australia are continually challenged by both the recruitmentand retention of the nursing workforce. The aim of the study was to examine what nursing studentsconsider 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 AustralianUniversity were invited to complete an online survey that examined their rural practice intentions.The questionnaire included demographic, rural background and career intentions, and a modifiedNursing Community Apgar Questionnaire (NCAQ).Results: The factors identified most important among nursing students when considering ruralpractice include patient safety and high-quality care, having autonomy and respect frommanagement, the establishment of positive relationships and good communication betweendifferent generations of nurses, and the work environment providing job satisfaction with goodmorale.Conclusions: This study provided insight for rural and regional universities and health services tobetter demonstrate what students indicate is important to take up rural practice, while highlightingunique challenges for the rural nursing workforce. Key elements are proposed that may beaugmented 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 whatnursing students feel are most important to them when considering rural practice, which arefocused around management, decision-making, and practice environment factors rather thaneconomic 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 beentering.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Terry, DR and Peck, B and Smith, A and Stevenson, T and Nguyen, H and Baker, E
Keywords: nursing, rural practice, nurses, students, health workforce, recruitment and retention, community apgar
Journal or Publication Title: Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care
Publisher: Binghamton University * Decker School of Nursing
ISSN: 1539-3399
DOI / ID Number: 10.14574/ojrnhc.v20i1.589
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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