Are rural and urban newly licensed nurses different? A longitudinal study of a nurse residency programme




This study aimed to compare rural and urban nurse residency programme participants’ personal and job characteristics and perceptions of decision-making, job satisfaction, job stress, nursing performance and organisational commitment over time.


Nurse residency programmes are an evolving strategy to foster transition to practice for new nurses. However, there are limited data available for programme outcomes particularly for rural nurses.


A longitudinal design sampled 382 urban and 86 rural newly licensed hospital nurses during a 12-month nurse residency programme. Data were collected at the start of the programme, at 6 months and the end of the programme.


At the end of the programme, rural nurses had significantly higher job satisfaction and lower job stress compared with urban nurses. Across all time-periods rural nurses had significantly lower levels of stress caused by the physical work environment and at the end of the programme had less stress related to staffing compared with urban nurses. Perceptions of their organisational commitment and competency to make decisions and perform role elements were similar.


Differences in these outcomes may be result from unique characteristics of rural vs. urban nursing practice that need further exploration.

Implications for nursing management

Providing a nurse residency programme in rural and urban hospitals can be a useful recruitment and retention strategy.