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Time to Focus on Rural Nurse Staffing

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, July 10, 2012

Her sentiments echo those of Carol Brewer, PhD, RN, FAAN, and professor at the School of Nursing at the University at Buffalo, who told me earlier this year that leaders need to make theirs "the best place to work so when they look around, they're going to stay with you. You want to keep them. You don't want them to jump ship the minute the market heats up."

But Fahs goes a step further in her editorial: She also calls on nurse leaders to cultivate the next generation of rural nurses, and points to the Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing report, which, she says, urges the use of residency programs "to assure a smooth transition from education to practice settings in rural environments."

In fact, a study in the same issue of the Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care shows that rural rotations increase nursing students' interest in practicing in rural areas. Researchers from the West Virginia University School of Nursing examined pre- and post-rotation surveys completed by 248 senior level baccalaureate students and found that after a semester-long interdisciplinary rural rotation, 53.6% of students reported an increased interest in rural health.

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