What Factors Affect Nursing Students’ Decisions of Whether to Take Rural Jobs: An Exploratory Interview Study in China

Yuexian Tao, Elaine Haycock-Stuart, Sheila E. Rodgers


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore factors that affact nursing students’ decisions of whether to take rural jobs in China. Methods: An exploratory interview study was conducted in China during May and June 2011. Eleven final year nursing students were purposively recruited from four nursing schools in one eastern area in China. The semi-structured interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and then analysed using thematic analysis approach. Findings: Four major themes emerged from these interview data: (a) students’ perspectives on rural nursing posts; (b) student’s perspectives on rural communities; (c) students’ background and personal concerns; and (d) government recruitment policies of rural nurses. Participants viewed rural nursing posts as positions with lower financial rewards, lower social status and fewer opportunities for professional development. They also perceived rural nursing as less demanding and less stressful. Rural background and altruistic personality contribute to students’ intentions to take a rural job. Family members’ disapproval of rural jobs was a major barrier to nursing students taking a rural job. Conclusions: The perceived low social status of rural nurses and family members’ disproval of rural work were unique factors revealed in Chinese context that had negative impacts on students’ intentions to work in rural places.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v5n4p165


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