Nurses in rural areas are confronted with very different hospital and clinic cultures than urban nurses. Nurses in rural areas have less resources available to them, less educational opportunities, lack of professional and technological support and a lower number of APNs as well as higher turnover rates (Shreffler, 1998; Winters & Mayer, 2002; Baernholdt, et al., 2010, & Jukkala, Henly & Lindeke, 2008).
However, these nurses are very often trained in urban areas that address urban needs. Practice challenges are very different in rural areas than urban ones and rural nurses are often at a disadvantage because most educational curriculums are based on city hospital scenarios (Baernholdt, et al., 2010) Furthermore, the scope of practice in rural nursing is usually that of a generalist rather than focused on a certain specialty area. Rural populations face unique health issues and disparities and rural nurses must be competent in many areas of care on any given day in any given unit.
So my question to the rural nurses out there is "How do you feel about your practice? Do you ever have feelings of isolation or regret for going into the nursing field? If you have worked in both urban and rural areas, how are they different? What would you like to see changed?"
As an educator who does train some rural nurses, I often wondered if rural nursing should have special training.