Educational Strategies to Enhance Placement and Retention of Nurse Practitioners in Rural Arkansas

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PurposeTo examine the factors and incentives enhancing nurse practitioners’ (NPs’) long-term employment in rural areas.Data SourceThe participants were 121 master's prepared or higher educated NPs located in rural Arkansas. A survey about role preparation and employment factors was mailed to the participants.ConclusionsWe found that 10% of all respondents were not currently employed in the role of an NP. The majority of rural-employed NPs had didactic content focusing on rural-practice opportunities and engaged in rural practicums while in graduate school. Rural NPs were much more likely to have graduated from research-intensive universities. Nearly 90% of NPs reported they were somewhat very well prepared for practice in rural Arkansas.Implications for EducationThe shortage of health care providers remains one of the most irresolvable problems in the U.S. health care delivery system. Compounding the shortage is the unequal distribution of health care practitioners rural areas. Evidence indicates that NP students engaged in rural clinical practicums were more likely to practice in rural areas. light of this information, nurse educators should expand the NP educational process beyond rurally located practicums to deliver the entire educational process to the NP students’ rural homes.

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