Title : Studying in the outback: A hermeneutic phenomenological study of the lived experience of women in regional, rural and remote areas studying nursing online
Research was undertaken to explore the question “what is known about the experiences of regional, rural and remote Australian women undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing program delivered online?”. The findings will support future research aimed at improving the retention and completion rates of women studying nursing in regional, rural and remote areas.? There is a critical shortage of nurses working in regional, rural and remote (RRR) Australia, with only 28% of graduated nurses are choosing to practice in these areas. It is well supported that this shortage of nurses is most likely to be addressed by nursing students who are completing their studies in RRR areas. Despite this, students from RRR Australia remain an equity group and experience poorer outcomes than their metropolitan counterparts. Completion rates for RRR students who enrol in tertiary education courses are approximately 4 to 17% less than students from metropolitan areas. In addition to this, RRR students are 40% less likely than students from metropolitan areas to gain a tertiary level qualification at all, and 50% less likely to gain a Bachelor level degree by the age of 35. Supporting students to remain in regional, rural and remote areas while they study reduces the need for students to relocate to metropolitan areas and to continue living and working in RRR areas after graduation. This research holds implications for workforce shortages internationally.