Student Nursing in Rural Areas

  1. I'm going to be attending a very, very small rural community college in Southwest Virginia in the Spring, hoping for admission to the RN program Fall 2007.

    There are about 4 area hospitals. None of them are what you call "specialty" hospitals. They have an ICU, but anything very serious gets sent an hour away to a more advanced hospital. They don't have a Pediatric or NICU or anything like that.

    Now, my goal is to work in NICU, and I am wondering what other schools in rural areas do.

    Thanks!
    •  
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Achoo!
    We drive 45 minutes to the nearest city ( Madison) and use the VA and teaching hospitals.
  4. by   West_Coast_Ken
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    I'm going to be attending a very, very small rural community college in Southwest Virginia in the Spring, hoping for admission to the RN program Fall 2007.

    There are about 4 area hospitals. None of them are what you call "specialty" hospitals. They have an ICU, but anything very serious gets sent an hour away to a more advanced hospital. They don't have a Pediatric or NICU or anything like that.

    Now, my goal is to work in NICU, and I am wondering what other schools in rural areas do.
    We're rural but not too terribly so. We use 3 hospitals, a 25 bed, a 30 bed and a 65 bed. Sometimes clinicals can be boring in the specialty areas (OB, ER, ICU depending on census).

    For our Peds rotations we went to a huge peds hospital hours away, and spent two nights over two weeks (4 days total). For Pysch we'll be going to a lock-down unit 90 minutes away so we can commute to that and for ICU, same thing...same town, but different facility.

    We scratch and claw the best we can. There are some nice advantages I feel to a rural education. Most of the RNs & docs aren't all that rushed so we tend to get more of a through understanding (they even take time to teach us along with our clinical instructor who is always rushed). We are rarely ever rushed out of the way of the "real" staff.
    Last edit by West_Coast_Ken on Nov 30, '06
  5. by   traumaRUs
    Realizing that your clinical experience is truly what you make of it helps tremendously.
  6. by   SuesquatchRN
    I drove 70 miles each way to school, and 75 to clinicals. Given that it was mountain roads I gave myself 2 hours.
  7. by   Jolie
    Very few nursing programs offer clinical experiences in such highly specialized areas as the NICU. It is far more important that you make the most of your OB, general peds, and community health rotations (where you may have the opportunity to work in a well-clinic, head start program, or do home visits on newborns and NICU/PICU grads). You should also take any classroom electives that are offered, such as a NICU/PICU theory course, and investigate the opportunity of doing a student nurse externship in your final year of college.

    No NICU hires new grads expecting them to have experience or competence in the care of neonates. The interview process is used to select candidates that posess the personality traits and professional qualities desirable in caring for this patient population.

    Good luck!
  8. by   Daytonite
    I went to a nursing school that was in a smaller area than yours, I think. We had only two hospitals within a 40 mile radius. Sick babies went to a large tertiary care children's hospital that was 70 miles away. That particular hospital had a special ambulance for critical babies that was sent out to the rural hospitals to pick up the critical babies accompanied by a NICU nurse and a resident pediatrician who was on call for that day. They would stabilize the baby on the site, and then whisk him off to the their hospital.

    First chance I got, I moved to the larger city and got a job in a large teaching hospital. Awesome experience. Everyone should work in a large teaching hospital at least once in their career. You will see patient's with diagnoses that you generally won't find in rural facilities. Larger tertiary facilities that are in large cities have access to more technology and resources.
  9. by   BSNtobe2009
    Thanks for everyone's comments. The college where I'll be getting my BSN, is affiliated with a medical school and I already e-mailed the Nurse Recruiter (and I have discovered they are very helpful with staffing questions), and she said they do hire new grads in NICU, as I want to work while finishing my BSN (it's a part-time/weekend program).

    I have just seen on the board where if you want a career in OB or NICU, that you needed to request to do a clinical rotation there if you want a job after you graduate, and I am sitting there reading, with my finger in my mouth thinkin, "Well, what if none of the hospitals around you have an OB or a NICU...how do you learn?"

    Since having my own child, I am so passionate about that area of nursing, and it's the ENTIRE reason I'm going to nursing school, is to work in that field. So obviously, it would realy disappointment me if I graduated and couldn't find a job in that area.

close