Evaluation of a rural undergraduate nursing student employment model

Amanda Kenny, Virginia Dickson-Swift, Nadia DeVecchi, Craig Phillips, Brad Hodge, Yaghma Masood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Developing a sustainable rural nursing workforce is key to good rural health outcomes, but nursing recruitment and retention is a significant challenge. Internationally, there is a body of literature that describes undergraduate nursing student employment models. There is, however, a lack of robust evaluation of these models as a workforce strategy. Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate an undergraduate nursing student employment model implemented in a rural context. Methods: A mixed-methods design was used with a well-established process evaluation framework. Data collection methods included monthly online surveys, blogs, focus groups, individual interviews, and client experience surveys. Findings: Paid employment models are a workforce strategy for rural health services and staff are mostly supportive. For students, engaging in healthcare employment was seen as more advantageous than other forms of employment, such as hospitality and retail. Patients/clients rated the model highly. There were significant challenges with balancing university commitments with service requirements, issues related to scope of the role, and concerns around ongoing funding of the model. Discussion: The rural undergraduate student of nursing employment role was implemented as planned with key findings primarily supporting the benefits of the role. Conclusion: While there is ongoing interest in nursing student employment, there is a paucity of rigorous evaluation of models. This study adds to knowledge on paid employment of nursing students, but longitudinal studies are needed. Robust economic modelling must occur to identify costs and benefits. In Australia, government interest in nursing student employment appears to wax and wane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Employment models
  • Evaluation
  • Nursing student
  • Rural health
  • Transition
  • Undergraduate nurses


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