Advice for a student nurse going on a rural placement

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    Hi everyone,
    I'm a third year nursing student from New Zealand about to embark on a 6 week rural placement on the west coast of the south island. I will be under the supervision of a nurse practitioner and based out of a small town with a population of around 280 people. I'm looking forward to this experience but would really appreciate any advice about what to expect and how to better prepare a city girl like myself for the challenges of rural nursing.
    thanks
    Sam
  2. 3 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    I don't know about New Zealand but in the states when you work rural you have to be prepared for just about anything. You will see everything from simple to complex laceration and foreign bodies in every orafice imaginable. Be will to laugh with your patient, it is true that many times laughter is the best medicine.
    sej33 likes this.
  4. 1
    Rural nursing is a specialty in and of itself. I work at a hospital that has a three bed emergency room, and a medsurge panick level of about 12. You get to know your patients on a much more personal level than in a larger facility. You get to know their families, their customs, their quirks. They get to know you, too. You will become jack of all trades, and have to master most of them. As a rural nurse, I work the ER, I supervise medsurg where we care for all age groups, all levels of illnesses from respiratory, to neurologic, to gastric, to muscularskeletal, to post surgical (or pre-surg), as well as obstetrics. We also have several social admits where the patient has no where else to go but here. And we provide very good care to them all. Patients have been known to pass up the large facilities to come to our small rural hosptial where they know they will obtain personalized care.
    thelittlenurse8 likes this.
  5. 0
    Keep your car up to date on its inspections, tire changes, etc. This is your chariot of independence. Know the clearance of your car, because some rural roads are really just parallel ruts in the earth. Fill up when you need fuel.
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    Without overplaying it, think of every day as a new day trip. Planning ahead will keep you sane. Take things that are commonly needed: dressing supplies, sterile saline for wound irrigation, rolled gauze, stretch gauze. Make sure that your catheters are not out of date. If they have been in a warm environment, like a car, they might be defective. Your agency will provide a car stock to enable you to perform your job.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--><o></o> Keep a medication book, a laboratory reference book, and your agency procedures with you. Keep emergency supplies, including food and water in the car. Remember where there are clean restrooms. There are small desks for the car passenger seat that can be ordered. I really like mine.
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    Here in the US, I always lock my car and keep my windows and sunroof closed. It keeps out unwanted intruders, both insect and mammal. Even in the patientís front yard, I lock my vehicle. Iím usually not as afraid of my patients as I am of the friends, neighbors and family that drive by and stop. In rural terms, it is a show of support. Regardless, maintain your professional demeanor and assume absolutely nothing. Keep hand-sanitizing gel on your person. Use it PRN and PRN some more.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> As a home health nurse, I have had many rural visits. It has been a lot of fun and Iíll probably be doing it as long as I can.


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