Remote area nurses' experiences of workplace safety in very remote primary health clinics: A qualitative study

Wright, Laura K., Jatrana, Santosh, and Lindsay, David (2024) Remote area nurses' experiences of workplace safety in very remote primary health clinics: A qualitative study. Journal of Advanced Nursing. (In Press)

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Aim: To explore Remote Area Nurses' experiences of the implementation of workplace health and safety policies and risk mitigation strategies in Australian very remote primary health clinics.

Design: This qualitative study used online semi-structured interviews, with participants purposively sampled to maximize variation in work location and service type. Data were analysed using a reflexive thematic analysis approach. Coding was carried out inductively, with NVivo 12 aiding data management.

Setting: The interviews were conducted from 24 Februrary 2021 to 06 March 2021 with Remote Area Nurses from very remote primary health clinics in Australia.

Participants: Fifteen Remote Area Nurses participated in the study.

Results: Thematic analysis revealed varied approaches to workplace safety among the different health services and regions. While the spread of ‘never alone’ policies in many clinics addressed one of the significant risks faced by Remote Area Nurses, gaps remained even for hazards specifically highlighted in existing work health and safety legislation. Meaningful collaboration with staff and the community, local orientation, preparation for the role and providing quality care were protective factors for staff safety. Understaffing, unsafe infrastructure and inadequate equipment were common concerns among Remote Area Nurses.

Conclusion: Health services need to prioritize workplace safety and take a continuous quality improvement approach to its implementation. This will include ensuring safety strategies are appropriate for the local context, improving infrastructure maintenance, and establishing sustainable second responder systems such as a pool of drivers with local knowledge.

Implications for the Profession: Poor personal safety contributes to burnout and high turnover of staff. Nurses' insights into the barriers and enablers of current workplace safety strategies will aid policymakers and employers in future improvements.

Item ID: 82098
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2648
Keywords: Australia, occupational health and safety, remote area nursing, remote health workforce, risk management, safety management
Copyright Information: © 2024 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2024 05:30
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420505 Nursing workforce @ 80%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420321 Rural and remote health services @ 20%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2003 Provision of health and support services > 200307 Nursing @ 80%
20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200508 Rural and remote area health @ 20%
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