The tenure of directors of nursing in rural acute care hospitals
Rural health care has been affected by health care changes. Twenty-seven percent of the U.S. population live in rural areas (Adams, 1993; Weinert & Long, 1991). The purpose of this study was to examine the tenure of rural Directors of Nursing (DONs) in the DON position, to examine the tenure of rural DONs in the organization, and to profile the personal system of the DON in a rural hospital. The significance of the study was that little is known about rural DONs.The Neuman Systems Model (Neuman, 1989) provided the theoretical. framework for the study using the personal system level. The sample included all rural acute care DONs in one midwestern state. The Assessment of DON Tenure Questionnaire (Rowles, 1992) was the instrument used to collect data. Thirty-three questionnaires were mailed to rural acute careDONs with a return rate of 100%.Rural DONs were found to have a longer tenure in the DON position than the tenure data in the nursing literature. Tenure in the organization was also found to be longer. The typical DON was found to be female, married, with children,45 years old, with a BSN in nursing. The rural DONS were found to be slightly dissatisfied with the job.The return rate of questionnaires demonstrated the rural DONs interest in nursing education, practice and research. The research implication called for further investigation into the tenure measure of rural DONs in other geographic location along with urban DONs tenure measure for comparative analysis. Rural DONs have limited education opportunities based on geographic location. Continuing education programs in nursing administration and practice that are accessible in the rural setting via TVs or computers would be beneficial.