Self-care practices of rural nurses in Montana
Conner, Jeanne Randale.
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Nurses have an ethical obligation to maintain competence and to continue personal and professional growth. Promotion of self-care encourages the nurse's personal and professional development. Review of the literature indicates little is known about the self-care practices of rural nurses. The demanding nature of professional nursing practice coupled with an ongoing nursing shortage in the United States challenge nurses' efforts to maintain adequate self-care for personal and professional development. This study was a replication, extension nursing research study intended to collect data about and explore the self-care practices of rural nurses in Montana. The study used a mailed, paper survey tool to collect information directly from a sample of rural nurses practicing in Montana. In July 2011, a total of 360 surveys were mailed to actively licensed registered nurses in eight rural counties in Montana; 194 surveys were completed and returned yielding a response rate of 53.8%. A significant portion of the study's respondents were over fifty years of age and reported living with chronic health problems. Social support, workplace accommodations for chronic health problems, increased opportunities for physical activity and support for optimal nutritional choices are among the recommendations for practice discussed. Formal validation of the survey tool and replication with other populations is recommended.