Definition of Rural


As populations increase and suburban America expands, I would be interested in knowing what qualifies as rural. I worked for 7 years at a small hospital in east central Idaho. Our nearest regional medical center equipped to deal with trauma and cardiac emergencies was 160 miles away. How does this distance compare with others working at rural hospitals?


629 Posts

If you have to go towards town to go hunting... You might be rural!

Dave :D

Specializes in Home Care, Urgent Care, ER, Med Surg. Has 30 years experience.

Small city hospital was 20 minutes away, tertierary hospital 80 miles away (rural NewYork State).


328 Posts

Where I live qualifies as rural. When there's a medical emergency most folks (if possible) drive the patient down the mountain and either meet the ambulance in town 30 minutes away or try to make it as quickly as they can towards the trauma center (driving normal 1.5 hours away) or pray they get stopped for speeding and get an escort. My daughter had a severe head injury 4 years ago and I didn't even think about calling ems. I got to the hospital in 45 minutes. I got yelled at by every doctor and nurse there but later did the math and figured that I got her there faster. Assuming the ambulance didn't get lost getting to my house (good possibility) and assuming they weren't on another call far away, they would have taken 30 minutes minimum to get to my house. They would have called to have her flown and by the time she would have gotten to the hospital she needed to be at it would have been a minimum of an hour. BTW, daughter had a depressed skull fx that had pushed into the dura, had surgery, a dissolvable plate and by the grace of God she's a happy smart 9 year old.


suzanne4, RN

26,410 Posts

I used to run a clinic in Tolleson, Az which was only about 10 miles from Phoenix but was classified as rural under the state government rulings. This was due to facilites that were available in the area...............



27 Posts

My county is only about 5000 population....I live in Eastern Oregon. When I first moved here I went to look for our hospital and drove by it 4 times because it looks like a one story brick house...Our closest town and "bigger" hospital is 150 miles away.


45 Posts

If they need anything more complicated test-wise than an X-Ray, they leave via plane....:) -Ruthie

Birdie RN

37 Posts

The clinic I work at is considered by the state to be rural. It does not seem so to me- the population here is about one hundred thousand. We have two medical hopitals. We see about 500 patients monthly at my clinc. With one RN and one LVN and two partime doctors this is an adventure! I guess I don't have much time wonder if we are rural! (Ha-ha!)

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,837 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

If the people who live in your own community call it a "band-aid stand" and have the nerve to do it while they are standing in front of you- you're rural.

Angela Mac

219 Posts

Rural- if you need to travel dirt or gravel roads for sometime before coming onto one that is tar covered and has a yellow line down the center, so that traffic can pass on both sides of it. You are rural.....I am rural & love the serenity of it....everyone waves at one another as they drive by.....


242 Posts

if your neighbors live in a cabin you might be rural. my closest neighbor is one mile away. my street has 3 different names all on a wooden post. if i call 911 the dispatchers have a different street name and town than is on my grant deed. the nearest hospital is 15 miles, the nearest trauma unit is 55 miles away. i live two miles down a bumpy road with abandoned shacks a long the way. coyotes, mountain lions, snakes, black widows, rattlers, scorpions crawling all about the place. i live in the high desert of southern california. 55 miles north of palm springs. they predicted we will have the big one here before september. the visting nurses have to navigate down dirt roads to find these old folks who live in cabins with wood burning stoves to adminster treatments to. its kind of creepy. i live on 5 acres and am selling my home cause i want to live near civilization. real nice friendly people. you can get the official answer to your question by contactint the county asessors office they determine if an area is considered rural or not. if it is classified as unincorporated like mine it probably is. a ground squirrel crawled up my washing machine drainage pipe and when i openened the door to the laundry room he jumped out of the top of it and startled me. :p :p :p :p :p :p :p :p :p :p :p :p :p

Maggie in NC

1 Article; 392 Posts

Rural is when all the drunks admitted in the ER are relatives and it's a dry county! Snicker.

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