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Attracting and retaining nurses in rural areas.
In July 2010, the CREHS Cohort study held a feedback meeting with the theme; ‘Policy interventions to improve health worker retention in rural areas - initial findings from the CREHS Cohort Study in Kenya.
The meeting also served as a reunion for cohort nurses who were meeting for the first time since graduating from medical college.
Two meetings were held in Kisumu and Nairobi and in total involved approximately 200 cohort nurses/study participants and key stakeholders from Capacity Project, Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK), Ministry of Medical Services (MoMS), Division of Nursing and the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC).
The meeting's purpose was to engage the key stakeholders and nurses so as to:
- Provide a progress report on the project.
- Share some of the findings emerging from the work and hear reactions from the group.
- Discuss implications and conclusions arising from the research.
- Hear thoughts on other areas that needed further investigation.
From the highly interactive meeting researchers engaged with stakeholders and shared findings from the study. These findings included results from the baseline survey conducted between August 2008 to January 2009 and employment status of the cohort nurses as of February 2010.
The presentation with results of the study shared at this meeting can be found below.
About the study
Job Preferences and Policy Interventions to Improve Retention of Nurses in Rural Areas. Kenya, like many other countries around the world faces major human resource challenges with lack of skilled workers in the most disadvantaged rural areas. Under-staffing in rural primary healthcare facilities (dispensaries and health centers) is particularly acute and whilst there is a general nursing workforce shortage, there are many qualified unemployed nurses in Kenya. The study looks at reasons for poor recruitment and retention in rural areas and potential policy interventions that could attract nurses to rural areas. 345 nurse trainees from four Medical Training Colleges (MTCs) were interviewed (166 were pre-service and 179 upgrading trainees with prior work experience). Highlights from the research study indicate that nurses had mixed perceptions of both living and working in rural areas with older nurses more likely to prefer working in rural areas whereas nurses upgrading from enrolled to registered status were less likely to prefer rural areas. Additionally, nurses trained furthest from Nairobi had a more positive attitude towards living in rural areas. The study identified a range of potential interventions to increase rural recruitment and retention, with those most favored by nursing students being additional rural allowances, and allowing choice of rural location. Greater investment is needed in information systems to evaluate the impact of such policies
The research is conducted within the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme as part of the Consortium for Research on Equitable Health Systems (CREHS). Under the Auspices of CREHS, three comparative nursing cohorts have been created in Kenya, South Africa and Thailand. For more information on the CREHS cohort please visit the study's website http://cohort08.blogspot.com or contact:
For further information please contact Jackline Wafula jwafulanairobi [dot] kemri-wellcome [dot] org and/or Mike English: menglishnairobi [dot] kemri-wellcome [dot] org