Snyder, Audrey

Committee Member

Hummel, Faye

Committee Member

Burman, Mary

Committee Member

Weil, Joyce


Nursing Education


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



197 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The reality of the challenges experienced in rural hospital-based care leave sparsely populated areas to face critical losses in nurses and healthcare services within already underserved regions of the nation. Nursing education is uniquely poised to serve as a mitigating agent against shortages in rural nursing workforce by preparing rural graduates to bloom where they are planted. This qualitative interpretive phenomenological research study explored the meaning of human flourishing as it is lived among rural nurses in the northwest region of Wyoming. The research was framed using social constructivism and the lens of rural nursing theory. Data were collected and analyzed using a combination of photographic analysis and interpretive thematic approach from the transcription of audio recordings of two sequential one-on-one interviews with nine rural nurses who submitted nine digital visual images, and researcher and participant field notes. The findings of the study yielded rich descriptions of the rural nurse participant’s lived experiences of flourishing. Emerging from the findings were the overarching themes of resilience and meaning, with the subcategories of attitude, adaptation, intentionality, and connection to suggest that strategies for the development of resilience, working with a purpose, and finding balance were important areas that rural nurses needed to develop within themselves in order to flourish. In contrast, three themes, fear, complacency, and blurred lines, emerged as challenges to flourishing in the rural setting if active steps are not taken. This research suggested the use of findings as important discussion points for the nursing profession, rural nurses and the rural nursing program as it prepares graduates to bloom in their rural nursing practice.

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Copyright is held by the author.