Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Florence Weierbach

Committee Members

Rebecca Adkins Fletcher, Katherine Hall, Wendy Nehring


Nurses make up a significant source of direct care for individuals, families, and communities. The problematic distribution of nurses and the potential to lose practicing nurses emphasizes the importance of retention and support of nursing professionals, especially in rural locations. One of the best ways to discover what is important to nurses is to ask and listen to the replies.

The focus for this dissertation is the lived experience of registered nurses in a six-county area in three adjoining states in rural South Central Appalachia. The purpose of this study is to interpret and understand the lived experience of contemporary RN practice in rural Appalachia. The two aims of the study are to 1) understand the lived experience of contemporary nurses in rural Appalachia, and 2) understand the lived experience of nurses as they relate to the place of residence and the place of employment.

The chapters include the research proposal and three manuscripts. Chapter 1 contains the background and significance. Chapter 2 is the literature review. Chapter 3 includes sampling and recruitment in rural areas. The findings are discussed in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 contains an integration of all manuscripts, discussion of the contribution to nursing science, direction for future research, and implications for nursing practice. Manuscripts are ready for submission and will be formatted per author guidelines prior to submitting.

The first manuscript, “Perceptions of Nursing in Appalachia: A State of the Science Paper,” is a literature review. The manuscript reviews the literature surrounding nurses in Appalachia. It was published in the Journal of Transcultural Nursing in January, 2018 (Brewer, 2018).

The second manuscript, “The Lived Experience of Nursing in Appalachia: Sampling and Recruitment,” examines the researcher’s experience with sampling and recruitment. The second manuscript will be submitted to the Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care.

The third manuscript, “Living and Working as a Nurse in Appalachia: A Phenomenological Study,” provides findings, implications, and future research. This paper describes findings and identifies themes of the data. The third manuscript is ready for publication to the Journal of Transcultural Nursing. The conclusion presents dissertation summary comments.

Document Type

Dissertation - embargo


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Other Nursing Commons