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Is nursing student personality important for considering a rural career?

Daniel R. Terry (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Australia)
Blake Peck (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Australia)
Andrew Smith (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Australia)
Tyrin Stevenson (Center for Health Policy, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA)
Ed Baker (Center for Health Policy, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 16 August 2019

Issue publication date: 4 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Identifying and measuring personality traits assists to understanding professional career choices, however, what impact personality traits have on nursing student rural career choice remains absent. The purpose of this paper is to identify personality traits among nursing students that may be predictive of pursuing a rural career.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional design was used to examine the importance Bachelor of Nursing students place on undertaking rural careers. All nursing students (n=1,982) studying a three-year bachelor’s degree were invited to complete a questionnaire examining personality traits and rural practice intentions.

Findings

Students who saw themselves working rurally after graduation had higher levels of conscientiousness than those who wanted metropolitan careers. Students with higher levels of agreeableness or open-mindedness were more likely to consider rural practice when individual community factors were carefully considered. Finally, students with higher levels of neuroticism were less likely to consider rural practice as a future career pathway.

Research limitations/implications

The cohort had high numbers of student from rural and regional settings, which may limit the ability to generalise the findings. In addition, student respondents of the survey may not be representative of the whole student cohort given the low response rate.

Originality/value

Key personality traits are identifying factors that contribute to nursing student decision making regarding rural practice. Students who displayed higher levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness and open-mindedness have traits that are most likely to impact the consideration of rural practice across their nursing career, which gives additional insight into targeted recruitment strategies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research has been supported by the Australian Government through the School of Nursing and Healthcare professions at Federation University Australia. Initial funding for the development of the critical access hospital Community Apgar Program was provided by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Bureau of Rural Health and Primary Care. The authors would also like to acknowledge the research assistance provided by the Center for Health Policy, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA.

Citation

Terry, D.R., Peck, B., Smith, A., Stevenson, T. and Baker, E. (2019), "Is nursing student personality important for considering a rural career?", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 617-634. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-03-2019-0074

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited