Practice readiness in very remote hospitals: Perceptions of early career and later career registered nurses
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Aim: To understand the practice readiness of the early career registered nurse in their first five years of practice within very remote hospital healthcare provision. Background: The practice readiness of early career registered nurses is often questioned; this is particularly true of nurses in rural and remote settings where, due to a transitory workforce, adequate support may not be forthcoming. Method: Qualitative descriptive design using semi structured interviews involving early career (n = 4) and later career (n = 3) registered nurses in very remote hospitals. Data were analysed using Creswell's six-step approach to thematic analysis. Findings: Practice readiness includes both professional and personal readiness. Early career registered nurse participants felt not ready for remote area employment. Later career registered nurses suggest that critical care placements in an emergency department or intensive care unit are necessary for preparedness to work in rural and remote areas. Key to supporting and developing practice readiness is organisational support, adequate, consistent staffing, and structured orientation across all departments. Discussion: Early career registered nurses understand their limitations; however, organisational support through appropriate orientation, supernumerary time, and adequate education is often not available. Conclusion: To support early career registered nurses to be practice ready, it is the organisation's responsibility to provide the adequate support, information, and preparatory education to ensure an effective transition to practice for future proofing of the rural and remote nurse workforce.