Background: The continuing education needs of rural nurses are not well understood. Rural hospitals face special challenges that serve as barriers to the attainment of continuing education. The purpose of this study was to assess the educational needs and barriers identified by rural nurses in two midwestern states. Method: A 12-item needs assessment survey developed by the researchers and administered at forums in nine rural hospitals was completed by 119 nurses. Results: The areas identified as the highest need included postpartum hemorrhage, preterm labor, pediatric care, preeclampsia, shoulder dystocia, and embolism. The barriers to obtaining updated education included distance to travel for educational opportunities and lack of staff for coverage while attending the programs. Conclusion: Identifying the learning needs, preferred learning strategies, and potential barriers to continuing education of rural nurses is a critical step in designing educational offerings that enhance their knowledge. Interprofessional simulation-based learning may be particularly helpful in enhancing the clinical competence and confidence necessary to provide safe patient care in rural settings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Review and Exam Preparation