Perceptions of Australian remote area nurses about why they stay or leave: A qualitative study

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Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the perspectives of experienced Australian remote area nurses about remote nursing staff retention strategies. Background: There is low retention of remote area nurses in remote Australia. Retention of remote area nurses can be improved by a supportive environment including good management, professional development and supervision. Method: This is a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with seven registered nurses with a minimum of 3 years remote area nursing experience. Participants were interviewed by phone, with the interviews audio-recorded then transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: Participants had on average 12 years of experience as a remote area nurse. They valued teamwork, effective and flexible management practices and the ability to maintain their own cultural and social connectedness. A flexible service model with regular short breaks, filled by returning agency nurses to enable continuity of care and cultural connections, was seen as a viable approach. Conclusion: Flexible management practices that encourage short breaks for remote area nurses may increase retention. This would need to occur within a supportive management framework. Implications for Nursing Management: Management strategies that reduce isolation from personal and social networks can increase the retention of skilled remote area nurses.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Early online date21 Mar 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Mar 2022


  • management
  • remote area nurses
  • remote health
  • retention
  • workforce


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