Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Obtaining and retaining adequate human resources has always been a major concern for rural hospitals. Present and future trends in supply of health care professionals make recruiting and retaining professionals even more critical, particularly for rural hospitals. The number of nurses practicing in small, rural communities has dropped steadily over the past few years (American Hospital Association, 1992). A sign that a national nursing shortage is occurring includes a registered nurse vacancy rate of 12.7% for hospitals (American Nurses Association, 1991). The federal government expects the total number of nurses in the United States to drop for the next 20 years (American Hospital Association, 1992). It has been suggested that in rural settings, the primary difficulty facing nursing administrators is recruitment and retention of registered nurses (RNs). The purpose of this investigation was to determine if nursing administrators in rural Kansas hospitals perceived there was a shortage of RNs and what factors influenced the recruitment and retention of RNs in their facility. This investigation used a non-experimental descriptive design to partially replicate a study by LaSala (1995). General Systems Theory (von Bertalanffy, 1955) and Kings (1975) Dynamic Interacting Systems approach guided this investigation to determine what relationship rural communities and hospitals have with recruitment and retention of nurses in rural settings. An intact group of nursing administrators in hospitals of less than 100 beds throughout the state of Kansas (N = 100) were mailed a questionnaire, with a response rate of 73%. The investigator found that nursing administrators in rural Kansas hospitals did not identify a shortage of RNs within their facility (60%), Administrators identified word of mouth and newspaper advertisement as the most effective and commonly used recruitment strategy, while retirement plans, flexible scheduling, and health insurance were identified as the most effective retention strategies. Lack of employment opportunities for the RN's spouse, community size, and competing with urban facilities were perceived as the greatest barriers to nursing recruitment with no severe retention barriers identified. This investigation supported the findings of the study it replicated (LaSala, 1995). These findings suggested that recruitment and retention issues in rural-Eastern United States are similar to those in rural-Central United States.


Mary R. Hassett

Date of Award

Spring 1997

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1997 Diane Reed


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