Abstract: This study aimed to construct a demographic profile of registered nurses employed in three rural and three remote area hospitals in NSW. The study also identified factors that contributed to the nurses seeking their present positions, intending to remain in them or leave. Interviews were conducted with 52 registered nurses and all 158 nurses employed in the hospitals were subsequently surveyed using a questionnaire developed on the basis of the interviews. The major positive professional factors that nurses associated with their employment were: employers' recognition of the importance of continuing professional education, good relations with peers and job satisfaction. A liking for country life and a preference for raising their children in country towns were the RNs' main personal reasons for seeking and remaining in their employment. The major negative professional factors of employment were: poor attitudes of doctors and administrators, employers' lack of understanding of professional needs, inadequate backup, staff shortages and inadequate access to professional education. Concerns about their children's education and the cost of educating children away from home were the most commonly cited personal reasons for leaving, or intending to leave, employment.