The nursing workforce is the backbone of healthcare provision in rural and remote Australia. Introducing student nurses to rural clinical placements is one strategy used to address the shortfall of healthcare workers outside of major cities, with the goal of improving the training, recruitment and retention of nurses in rural areas. The aim of this qualitative, longitudinal study was to better understand personal and professional decision-making around rural nursing practice intentions and subsequent rural employment and retention. The study methodology consisted of repeated semi-structured interviews with student nurses who had completed at least one rural placement and following them on their journey to becoming graduate nurses over a 6-year period. Thematic longitudinal analysis was undertaken, with three main themes developing, each with further subthemes: (1) participants' satisfaction with rural placements; (2) their challenges with gaining employment; and (3) considerations regarding 'going rural' for work. The participants engaged in both prospective and retrospective reflection around several professional, personal, and wider systemic barriers and enablers to rural practice, which are discussed in detail in this paper. The insights from this longitudinal study have the potential to assist the development of a sustainable rural nursing workforce through informing rural workforce programs, strategies and policies.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Mar 2023|