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Regional differences among employed nurses: A Queensland study
journal contributionposted on 2019-11-26, 00:00 authored by T Henwood, R Eley, D Parker, A Tuckett, Desley Hegney
Objective: To ascertain differences in the working lives of geographically dispersed nurses. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Registered, enrolled and assistants-in-nursing members of the Queensland Nurses' Union employed in nursing in Queensland, Australia. Participants: A total of 3000 members of the Union, equally stratified by sector (public, private, aged care). Among them, 1192 responded and 1039 supplied postcodes matching the Australian Standard Geographical Classification. Main outcome measures: Statistically significant differences in working lives of nurses employed in different geographical locations. Results: Nurses in outer regional/remote/very remote localities are more likely to be employed as permanent full-time staff and self-report higher levels of work stress. These levels could be explained by: lack of replacement staff for leave, longer working and on call hours and lack of support for new staff. Distance remains a major barrier to accessing continuing professional education. However, outer regional/ remote/very remote nurses were more likely to be provided employer support for professional education. Inner regional nurses were more likely to work part time, would work more hours if offered and were more likely to have taken a break from nursing as a result of family commitments. Conclusion: The data confirm that current policies are not addressing the differences in the working lives of geographically dispersed nurses. Policies addressing orientation, mentoring and workloads should be implemented to address these issues. © Journal compilation © 2009 National Rural Health Alliance Inc.