Off-campus South Dakota State University users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your South Dakota State University ID and password.

Non-South Dakota State University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Lori Hendrickx


rural nurse in-service training, sudying and teaching nursing in Montana, Montana rural nurses


Continuing education for nurses has been shown to improve provider competence and patient outcomes (Beatty, 2001). The rural population consists of residents who suffer from more chronic illness and seek health care services later. Health care provider shortages have plagued the rural health care system for over 30 years and are predicted to worsen with the national nursing shortage. There is a heightened need for continuing education for nurses practicing in rural settings. Nurses in rural areas practice as generalists and often need to expand their role into other professional domains to meet provider shortages, yet little has been done to investigate learning needs of rural nurses and barriers to attending continuing education.
The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify the continuing education needs and the perceived barriers to obtaining continuing education among rural nurses in Montana. A mailed survey consisting of specific nursing topic areas, instruction level nurses would prefer the education offered, and barriers to attending continuing education were mailed to 222 rural nurses in Montana. One-hundred and ten surveys were returned for a response rate of 49.5%. The six most frequently requested continuing education needs in descending order of priority were: physical assessment, legal issues in nursing, motivating or influencing others, cardiovascular nursing, coping with difficult patients, and ethical issues in nursing. The majority of participants requested continuing education offered at the intermediate level of instruction. The top three barriers to attending continuing education were: distance too far to travel, hard to get time off from work, and too costly. The majority of participants were required to travel greater than 150 miles to attend continuing education.
Rural nurses in this study have identified specific educational needs and their barriers to attending continuing education. If programs were developed to address the specific educational needs and barriers, rural nurses' educational needs may be met.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Rural nurses -- In-service training -- Montana
Nursing -- Study and teaching (Continuing education) -- Montana
Rural nurses -- Montana -- Attitudes


Includes bibliographical references (page 50-56)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2008 Cheryl Richards. All rights reserved