Factors that influence the recruitment and retention of graduate nurses in rural health care facilities.
Rural nursing is a distinct practice and rural nurses in Australia constitute the largest group in the rural health workforce. However, the rural workforce is ageing and the turnover of nurses in rural areas is high. In addition, rural health services are experiencing recruitment and retention difficulties; very little is known about the recruitment and retention of new graduates nurses in rural health areas and the potential long-term investment they could offer to rural health services. A qualitative study explored the journey of transition for new graduate nurses employed in graduate nurse transition programs in northern New South Wales. This paper presents two major themes from the study that describe the factors that influenced the new graduate nurse to seek and accept a graduate nurse position within a rural health setting and the factors that influenced their retention. Findings indicate that previous connection with a rural area and positive experiences in a rural health care facility during undergraduate preparation were significant factors influencing the graduate nurses' decision to pursue a rural graduate nurse position. No guarantee of a permanent appointment upon completion of the graduate program, and graduates' disappointment with graduate nurse programs, were important factors influencing their retention within rural health care facilities.