Factors contributing to retention of hospital nurses in urban and rural areas


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The purpose of this study was to learn about the characteristics of nurses who have maintained employment relationships with hospitals and to identify differences in characteristics among nurses working in urban and rural areas. Using a three section self report questionnaire, data was collected from 257 registered and licensed practical nurses from two hospitals (one rural, one urban as defined by the definition of metropolitan statistical areas) in the state of Maryland. This represented 61.4% of the available nurse population in these two facilities. The results found that rural nurses reported significantly more nursing experience and service to their hospitals; and experience significantly greater satisfaction regarding issues of salary/departmental support, teamwork, schedule/work environment, and patient/family interaction. Nurses from both the rural and urban samples listed location, friends, schedule and salary as factors affecting their own reasons for maintenance of their positions. Further research should focus on validating the results of this study to determine trends in retention based on geographic regions. Consistent with The Model of Nurse Retention, (Curran & Minnick, 1989) nurse retention was found to be a highly complex and personal concept and each institution must assess its own employees when developing strategies to enhance employee retention.