A Decentralized Nursing Education
Keywords:recruitment and retention, nurse education, community health, blended learning, rural communities
AbstractEducation, recruitment, and retention of registered nurses (RNs) have been a concern in rural and remote regions in Norway, and particularly in Northern Norway. This challenge has been addressed since 1990 through the establishment, at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, of decentralized nursing education (DNE), which has developed a geographical distribution of health professionals throughout Northern Norway. The DNE program is organized as a part-time study covering four years. Students in the program are allocated into study groups according to their geographical affiliation. One nurse lecturer at each of the study centres holds the main responsibility of teaching and supervising students in the off-campus learning activities that constitute the core of the teaching and learning process. One week per semester, the students attend teaching and learning sessions on the main UiT campus in Tromsø. All clinical placements, except medical and surgical nursing at hospitals, are conducted in the municipalities where the students live. As of 2015, 430 students had graduated from DNE, and 87.5% had their first employment in rural municipalities. In 2012, 85% still worked in the rural community. More than twenty years of delivering decentralized nursing education has proven to be a success regarding the aim of contributing to a sustainable nursing workforce in rural and remote areas in Northern Norway. The DNE program has a secondary success factor in providing women in rural and remote areas with access to higher education and working opportunities in their community. It has also become a model for similar professional study programs in Norway. This report is part of a special collection from members of the University of the Arctic Thematic Network on Northern Nursing Education. The collection explores models of decentralized and distributed university-level nursing education across the Circumpolar North.
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