Publishing rural nurse stories in a book has impact




rural nurses, stories, impact, publish


Purpose :  Does collecting and publishing rural nurse stories have impact? This article evaluates the impact of the design and content of a rural book capturing rural nurse stories across Aotearoa New Zealand. Did reading the book alter reader perception of rural nursing or have wider effects? 

Sample:  Readers of a narrative book including rural nurses’ stories and imagery from across Aotearoa New Zealand were invited to complete a survey of their impressions. There were 42 responses received, a 22 per cent response rate. Of these, four did not read the book, leaving 38 responses for analysis of impact. These included seven of the original nurse storytellers, other nurses, and non-nurses. 

Method:  The primary method was a survey of recipients of the book. This included quantitative demographic data and qualitative open question responses. Surveys were sent via email using Qualtrics with a link for completion with two automated reminders.   

Findings :  Reading and viewing the narratives in this book impacted positively on nurses and non-nurses’ awareness of the breadth and complexity of rural nurse practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. The distribution of the book as a physical copy meant that on average each book was viewed by at least six people. The presentation of the book was important, with readers valuing the wide variety of narratives including images, maps, poetry, and stories. Over half of respondents identified that the Māori (indigenous peoples of New Zealand) content reinforced the importance of Māori health particularly in the rural setting. This narrative resource will continue to impact future health professionals’ awareness of rural nursing as over one third of participants intended to use the book as a teaching resource.  

Conclusion:  There is intrinsic and extrinsic value to rural nurses telling their stories to both nurses and a broader audience. These stories increase awareness and can influence future policy and action. To add value to the stories, include multiple narratives of place and context, including visual images. Amplify the voice of indigenous peoples with indigenous nurses’ stories and wider narratives. 


Author Biographies

  • Jean Ross, BN, MA (Nursing), ONC, GCTLC, Cert Sustainable Practice, PhD, Otago Polytechnic


  • Josie Crawley, MEd, BA, RN, GCTLT, Otago Polytechnic

    Associate Professor 

  • Karole Hogarth, JP, RN, BSc, PhD, SFHEA UK, Otago Polytechnic

    Professor and Head of Nursing 

  • Lesley Brook, BA (Hons), LLB, M Prof Prac, DipGrad Theol, University of Otago

    Research Advisor