More than just numbers! Perceptions of remote area nurse staffing in Northern Territory Government health clinics

More than just numbers! Perceptions of remote area nurse staffing in Northern Territory Government health clinics Journal Article

Australian Journal of Rural Health

  • Author(s): Dunbar, Terry, Bourke, Lisa, Murakami-Gold, Lorna
  • Published: 2019
  • ISBN: 1038-5282

Abstract: Objective The need for more Remote Area Nurses in the Northern Territory is clear. This paper investigates the perspectives of Remote Area Nurse workforce issues among multiple stakeholders. The aim is to identify how Remote Area Nurse staffing issues are perceived by clinic managers, Remote Area Nurses themselves, Aboriginal colleagues and community members in seven remote communities in the Northern Territory. Design This is a qualitative study that uses interviews and focus groups to identify key messages of local stakeholders about Remote Area Nurse workforce issues. A content analysis was used for data analysis. Setting Seven diverse remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory with government-run health clinics were visited. Participants Non-random sampling techniques were used to target staff at the clinics at the time of field work. Staff and community members, who agreed to participate, were interviewed either individually or in groups. Interviews were conducted with 5 Managers, 29 Remote Area Nurses, 12 Aboriginal staff (some clinics did not have Aboriginal staff) and 56 community residents. Twelve focus groups were conducted with community members. Results Content analysis revealed that participants thought having the “right” nurse was more important than having more nurses. Participants highlighted the need for Remote Area Nurses to have advanced clinical and cultural skills. While managers and, to a lesser extent, Remote Area Nurses prioritised clinical skills, Aboriginal staff and community residents prioritised cultural skills. Conclusions Participants identified the importance of clinical and cultural skills and reiterated that getting the “right” Remote Area Nurse was more important than simply recruiting more nurses. Thus, retention strategies need to be more targeted and cultural skills prioritised in recruitment.

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Dunbar, Terry, Bourke, Lisa, Murakami-Gold, Lorna, 2019, More than just numbers! Perceptions of remote area nurse staffing in Northern Territory Government health clinics, Journal Article, viewed 08 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=15230.

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