University of Tasmania

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Challenges and contributions of rural community nursing into Tasmanian health workforce and services: A qualitative study

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 13:26 authored by Barrett, A, Terry, DR, Le, Q

Rural community nurses often work in isolation, particularly in rural areas where many other non-government adjunct health services are absent. Their role remains less well defined and is influenced by many factors such as an ageing population, chronic disease and a higher number of patients with complex needs. At times, they feel overwhelmed, stressed, undervalued and experience difficulty in maintaining diverse responsibilities within the role, such as health promotion and anticipatory care. This study aimed to examine the benefits and challenges community nurses experience when working in rural and remote areas of Tasmania, while determining the speciality skills and practices to meet rural health needs.

Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 15 community nurses from the North and North-west rural areas of Tasmania for better understanding of the skills, practices, and experiences of community nurses when caring for clients in rural community settings.

The key challenges identified included coping with altered expectations of the role, maintaining the knowledge and skills to deal with the diversity of the role, communicating and integrating with other services, particularly those in the acute care sector, coping with increasing administrative and documentation aspects associated with the role and coping with the emotional stress and pressure of working with palliative care clients. Despite these challenges community nurses interviewed indicated high levels of job satisfaction and long term employment.

The project findings provide insight into the rural workforce challenges, gaps in services and offer directions for developing better policy for healthcare provision in ways that address current and future workforce and health needs within rural communities, particularly among older citizens.



School of Health Sciences

Event title

7th International Congress of Innovations in Nursing

Event Venue

Western Australia

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Evaluation of health and support services not elsewhere classified

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