Nursing shortages continue globally and are especially critical in rural and remote communities. Attracting nurses to work in less populated regions presents challenges that differ from those in urban areas.
This pilot study focused on self-identified factors of nursing students who expressed an interest in rural practice post-graduation. The sample included students from the USA and Canada, who were enrolled in graduate and under graduate programs of nursing, and were attending an international rural nursing conference.
Findings from the pencil and paper short answer survey found those who have life experiences and connections in small communities are more likely to choose this setting. Post-graduation employment preference was reinforced by ongoing exposure to rural theory and practice settings in their programs of study. Nursing scholars may find this study useful to further examine students' employment preferences, and to develop targeted strategies to better prepare those having an interest in rural practice.
Evidence based findings are critically needed to recruit and retain nurses to address critical nursing shortages in rural regions in North America and globally.