Abstract

The sustainability of the rural and remote nursing workforce in Canada is increasingly at issue as the country becomes more urbanized and the nursing workforce ages. In order to support the retention of nurses in rural and remote communities and the recruitment of nurses to these communities, we require a better understanding of what is important to rural and remote nurses themselves. As part of the in-depth interviews conducted within The Nature of Nursing Practice in Rural and Remote Canada, a national research project, registered nurses (RNs) were asked what advice they would have for new nurses, educators, administrators and policy makers. This is the first of two papers describing that advice. It focuses on RNs in acute care, long-term care, home care, community health/public health and primary care roles in rural and remote communities across the country. The RNs were generous with their advice and gave many rich examples. While they were enthusiastic about their nursing practice and encouraging of other nurses to work in rural settings, they were intent that improvements be made in several key areas: education available to new practitioners and themselves, working conditions for rural and remote nurses, leadership, organizational supports and policies that better support rural and remote practice and communities.