Rural areas are in critical need of nurses to meet the health needs of their residents. The problem under investigation in this study was whether a semester-long interdisciplinary rural rotation changed nursing students’ interest in rural health, perceptions of their performance of selected nursing skills, and their intention to practice in a rural community.
Two hundred forty eight (248) senior level baccalaureate students completed pre- and post-rotation surveys. 53.6% of students reported an increased interest in rural health.
Significant differences were found in students’ confidence in aspects of their performance including recognizing cultural differences, community assessment, community participation, meeting the unique needs of rural patients, identifying barriers to care, and identifying the impact of socioeconomic status on health. Students who attended high school in a rural community, expressed increased interest in rural health, and evaluated the rotation favorably were more likely to practice in a rural state after graduation (p < .05).
The findings have implications for changes in nursing education. A more comprehensive approach to rural health may be needed to attract students to nursing practice in rural communities.
Key Words: Rural, Nursing education, Nursing practice, Intention
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