Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Robert T. Wagner


Health care professionals in south Dakota, a rural state with a recognized lack of health care facilities and a physician to population ratio of 1:1343 in 1975, have become increasingly concerned with how best to recruit and mobilize personnel to maintain adequate health services. In 1973, South Dakota had 17 counties without a civilian physician, and although these counties were sparsely populated the need for health care services remains a salient factor. The achievement of a desirable distribution of manpower is crucial for optimal delivery of health service to South Dakota residents. An understanding of the causes and patterns of career mobility of health providers is precursory to the establishment of policy goals promoting efficient utilization of health manpower. The career mobility patterns of registered nurses and the impact of these patterns on the health manpower supply, amidst the increasing consumer demand for health care, provides a meaningful arena for study. This study attempts. to investigate the following problem: "What are the factors associated with career mobility of South Dakota registered nurses, and how do these mobility patterns vary when associated with and controlled for selected structural and social variables.” The health manpower plan for South Dakota states, "Registered nurses form the single largest health manpower group in South Dakota. They offer by far the bulk of health care man hours in hospitals and nursing homes; and supply vital health needs through public health nursing, school nursing, and assistance in doctors' offices.” Consequently, they represent a major contributor to the health team. Therefore, an investigation of the stated problem is important as it would identify factors associated with career mobility of nurses. The inquiry would yield information on nursing manpower demand created by mobility and turnover and not just by the demand structure of the market. A value of this inquiry would be the identification of specific areas and health organizations with high nurse turnover and career mobility. The mobility patterns of south Dakota registered nurses have health manpower ramifications for the entire state health delivery system and should be considered in any health planning and policy making decisions. The objectives of the study are to determine: 1. The extent of career mobility among South Dakota registered nurses. 2. The factors associated with career mobility among South Dakota registered nurses. 3. The extent to which the variations in selected social and structural factors help explain career mobility among South Dakota registered nurses.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nurses -- South Dakota
Occupational mobility -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University