Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Nursing


Background: Approximately a third of Australia’s population resides outside major cities, in rural communities. People who live in rural communities have higher morbidity and mortality rates than those living in urban areas. This places great pressure on small rural hospitals which may be the only source of health care available in these communities. Rural hospitals rely heavily on nurses to provide care to the residents of their communities. Nursing workforce shortages in rural areas are an ongoing concern in Australia. Despite their importance, there is a paucity of contemporary research investigating the experiences of nurses working in rural hospitals. To address this ongoing concern, the role and challenges faced by nurses working in rural hospitals need to be examined.

Aim: The overall aim of this study was to explore the experiences of nurses working in small rural hospitals in Australia.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.