The role of rural nurse managers in supporting new graduate nurses in rural practice

Authors: Lea J. & Cruickshank M.

Source: Journal of Nursing Management 25, 176–183 (2017).

Aim: To investigate the nature and timing of support available to new graduate nurses within a rural transition to practice programme.
Background: For new graduates in rural practice successful transition is complicated by the unique role of the rural nurse, staff ratios and resources within rural environments. Little is known about the support needs of graduates working in rural health services, or who is best placed to provide support during their transition.
Method: This was a qualitative case study, using individual interviews with new graduate nurses at 3, 6 and 9 months milestones during a 12-month rural transition to practice programme plus interviews with experienced rural nurses who were employed in rural health agencies where the new graduate nurses were employed.
Results: Graduates in rural health services rely on nurse unit managers and nurse managers for feedback, support and debriefing, provision of emotional support, advocacy, openness, encouragement and protection from organisational requests and demands during the transition to rural nursing practice.
Conclusions: Nurse managers play an important role in rural health services in the provision of support for new graduate nurses.
Implications for nursing management: As clinical leaders, rural nurse managers have an important role in facilitating the successful entry and retention of new graduate nurses into the rural nursing workforce.

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