Also, 87.6% of the students rated the quality of the rotation as good, very good, or excellent. Students who evaluated the quality of the rotation more favorably also identified smaller communities as future practice sites and were more likely to remain in West Virginia.
So will this lead to a more nurses practicing in rural West Virginia? Only time will tell. As the study authors write, "While this rural health rotation helped to change students' confidence in key areas of rural practice, it was not clear that it would change students' intent to practice in rural areas."
They say additional strategies may be needed such as include integrating rural theory and practice opportunities throughout the nursing curriculum and building linkages between university faculty and rural preceptors.
But one thing is certain: Rural nurse leaders need to pay attention to these kinds of issues today to ensure that rural patients are still well-cared for tomorrow.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.