Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 54–58 | Cite as

Retaining Public Health Nurses in Rural British Columbia

The Influence of Job and Community Satisfaction
  • Mary Henderson Betkus
  • Martha L. P. MacLeod



Although the need to retain rural registered nurses is pressing, little is known about what influences them to stay in their current employment. The objectives of the study were: to examine public health nurses’ (PHNs) job and community satisfaction; to relate job and community satisfaction to their decision to stay in their current employment in rural British Columbia.


A survey was mailed to all front-line PHNs in 48 rural and small urban communities in British Columbia. Of the 164 eligible PHNs, 124 responded (76% response rate).


PHNs were most satisfied with their professional status, professional interaction and autonomy, their communities’ acceptance of their partners, friendliness of the community and their friends. They were least satisfied with their salary. Job satisfaction or community satisfaction was not found to influence retention. Instead, “filter factors” such as age, retirement, family needs and the economy affected PHNs’ intent to stay or leave.


If PHNs are to be retained in rural areas, their economic and family life situations merit greater attention, as does their experience of living and working in rural communities.



Malgré le besoin pressant de retenir les infirmières et infirmiers autorisés en milieu rural, on connaît très peu ce qui influence leur décision de conserver leur emploi actuel. Notre étude avait deux objectifs: analyser la satisfaction des infirmières et infirmiers de santé publique (ISP) à l’égard de leur emploi et de leur collectivité; et associer la satisfaction à l’égard de l’emploi et de la collectivité à la décision de conserver son emploi actuel dans les zones rurales de la Colombie- Britannique.


Nous avons posté un sondage à tous les ISP de première ligne de 48 collectivités rurales et petites collectivités urbaines de la Colombie-Britannique. Sur les 164 ISP admissibles, 124 ont répondu (taux de réponse de 76%).


Les ISP étaient surtout satisfaits de leur statut professionnel, de leurs interactions et de leur autonomie au travail, de l’acceptation de leurs partenaires par la collectivité, du caractère accueillant de la collectivité et de leurs amis. Elles et ils étaient moins satisfaits de leur salaire. Nous n’avons pas constaté de lien entre la satisfaction à l’égard de l’emploi ou de la collectivité et la conservation des emplois. Ce sont plutôt les ªfacteurs filtres« comme l’âge, la retraite, les besoins familiaux et l’économie qui influençaient l’intention des ISP de rester ou de partir.


Si l’on veut retenir les ISP en milieu rural, leurs circonstances familiales et économiques mériteraient une attention plus grande, tout comme leur expérience de vie et de travail dans les collectivités rurales.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public Health Nurse, Northern Health AuthorityMcBrideCanada
  2. 2.Nursing ProgramUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

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