Rural Professional Isolation: An Integrative Review

Abstract

Background: Chronic nursing shortages have plagued rural communities for many years. It is therefore important to highlight the specific challenges confronting rural areas in regards to recruiting and retaining nurses. One challenging factor associated with recruitment and retention of rural nurses is professional isolation.

Purpose: This paper reports the findings of an integrative review conducted to analyze and critique recent empirical and theoretical literature on the concept of rural professional isolation. The author explores the ways in which professional isolation has been considered in the multidisciplinary health and nursing literature.

Methods: A cross-search of three nursing and social science databases located 26 papers, the majority published between 2000 and 2010. In addition, several classic articles dating back to 1989 were included. The articles focused on various aspects of professional isolation in nursing, medical, and allied health literature. Whittemore and Knaflā€™s integrative review method guided the analysis. A narrative description of findings and synthesis of data was performed.

Results: Professional isolation appeared in the literature in numerous contexts. As it relates to rural nursing, the concept has often been cited, but remains poorly described.

Conclusion: Professional isolation may be geographic (a distance from), social (a lack of contact with), or ideological (out casted from). However, most of the literature reviewed relates to the geographic or the social aspects of the concept. Electronic communication and information technology hold great potential for reducing professional isolation of nurses who practice in rural areas.

Keywords: Integrative Review, Professional Isolation, Rural Nursing

https://doi.org/10.14574/ojrnhc.v12i2.51
PDF

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share (for non-commerical purposes) the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).