Nursing students' views on rural nursing practice in China: A questionnaire survey

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Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate final year nursing students’ views on rural nursing practice in China. There are fewer nurses in rural areas compared to urban areas in China. Little is known about how current nursing students view rural nursing practice, and what influences their intentions to work rurally in their career.
Methods: A questionnaire survey was designed. Data were collected in one area in Eastern China between December 2011 and March 2012. A self-completion questionnaire was hand distributed to final year nursing students in six nursing schools and collected by the researcher with a response rate of 89% (n = 445).
Results: Nursing students in China had some unique perceptions on rural nursing practice. Respondents viewed nursing posts in rural areas as having lower incomes, lower professional status and fewer opportunities for learning skills. They also associated rural nursing with a light workload, less stress and few night shifts. In contrast to the wider literature, Chinese nursing students
did not consider that rural nursing posts could foster autonomy in practice or offer the opportunities to broaden their skills.
Conclusions: The perceived lower financial rewards, fewer opportunities for skills development and the low professional status of rural nurses make recruitment of a skilled nursing workforce to rural areas a major challenge in China. Policies, such as reforming the rural nursing delivery system, providing financial incentives and supporting for professional development, should
be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-68
JournalJournal of Nursing Education and Practice
Volume6
Issue number5
Early online date11 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • nursing students
  • career choice
  • health workforce
  • rural areas

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