Would you live in a rural community for nursing?


Meaning if you thought that the opportunity had really good benefits (good nursing on the job training, decent pay, friendly environment...), would you mind traveling to a rural community to work as a nurse? What if you were thinking about pursuing a relatively cheap program in a rural community? I know I'm pursuing nursing school, but I really wanted both those questions answered to help me make an informed decision.


739 Posts

I would definitely move. And I would actually prefer a rural area. But what are YOUR thoughts about it?


1 Article; 2,674 Posts

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

This is what my family is doing, and not only for nursing. General cost of living, excellent schools, low-cost colleges, NO TRAFFIC, kids playing on streets well into darkness. And if we feel like pining for big city buzz, we hop onto train or jet and go right there for weekend.

Going to move to a bigger place after the nest gets empty, though. But only because of my hubby's career, not mine.


3,726 Posts

I've had a very fulfilling and doable rural home health career. No traffic, parking never an issue, repeat patients/families. Kids grew up with horses, quads, creeks, boats, small town athletics..


47 Posts

I am currently working in a rural hospital and I am really enjoying it. Our CNO has already talked to me about which area I would be interested in cross-training to (I mentioned ER). We have people that actually work all units, ER, MS, OB and ICU. We do have OR and that's another area that they have asked if I would be interested in cross-training to. I don't think there are a lot of hospitals that would be so eager to cross-train. Our hospital is part of a much bigger company that has larger hospitals, so we also have a lot of resources and educational opportunities. That was something I was little worried about with working at a small hospital, but it hasn't been a problem at all. I recently spoke with an HR recruiter from another hospital who said that she loves hiring rural nurses because they have a general knowledge of a lot stuff. I will say that some of the biggest downers working at a rural hospital is that we don't have a case manager and we only have two social workers so sometimes you get to do their job too!

Jules A, MSN

8,863 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I have worked both inner city teaching hospitals as well as a rural community hospital. Like others have written there are many pluses however the down sides include a lack of the latest bells and whistles with regard to testing and medications, everyone knows everything about everybody, and often when there is only one hospital within a fairly large distance they tend to pay lousy because they are the only game in town. The first two I can live with the last not so much.


154 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

Went to nursing school in a rural area; saved me a ton of money and was a great learning experience. I worked as a tech during school and then after passing NCLEX I accepted a job at a large teaching hospital. It was really cool to see both sides of nursing; going from stabilize and ship the traumas/STEMI's/strokes/etc (it was a critical access hospital) to being at a larger hospital and being the nurse accepting the transfer.

I think it would provide valuable prospective and experience. Go for it.

Has 34 years experience.

I've done both. Very isolated and rural and a major inner city teaching hospital. There were perks to both. I'd do either again. I've also worked at a suburban midsize. I'd have to say that was my least favorite.

The biggest con for me of the rural experience was lack of available staffing during high census. At times of low census we got call time, but were expected to fill in when census picked up. No local agency etc. I personally didn't mind taking low census but I wanted my off time to be off.

That said. I much prefer small town life. :)


489 Posts

I would actually prefer a rural setting, I love the country side!!


173 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Rural, OB. Has 3 years experience.

I tried it for a year because my husband had found a job in a rural area that was good for his career while I was still in school. I enjoyed getting to learn several different areas, but on average our census was always low. I hated living in very rural area, where the nearest "city" was 90 miles away and I use the term city loosely. I also hated that it was cold and snowy 8 months out of the year. I was miserable. I have moved back to where I went to school, an area I love yet am still working in a small hospital. I do actually enjoy that. I feel like I could still get the opportunity to cross train in L&D if I want but now I live in a bigger area that has the conveniences I sorely missed living the country life.

BeachsideRN, ASN

1,722 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology. Has 9 years experience.

Yes. Definitely.

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

No...I grew up in a rural area myself (as in, bears look for food in my parents' backyard post-hibernation rural).

My husband thinks the 3 million strong metro area we're in is too rural. His "hometown" has 10 million. So no..he'd never go for that kind of move. Myself, I now prefer to be close enough to comfortably drive into a big city. A few summers back I got stranded at my parents' house for two weeks; a squirrel chewed a wire to my van's computer. (it took the mechanic a couple of visits to dx the problem, and then he had to send for a replacement computer from California. I came from Wisconsin.) I'd just had my 4th baby, and my Sienna was the only vehicle any of use owned, big enough for four kids to safely ride in. About a week in, I started to feel the isolation. The thing about Wisconsin weather is it can get very hot during the summer--I've seen heat index up to 130--and brutally cold in the winter. Taking into account head index and wind chill, that's a perceived temperature range of nearly 200 degrees!! There are no indoor play facilities for the kids, and much of the year can be dangerous for playing outside.

I also prefer suburban schools for my kids. The rural school I went to had fewer opportunities and WAY tighter cliques. My younger kids attend a language immersion program within our public school system (where all subjects are taught in the language, except for English, music, art, and gym); they are becoming fluent in the language. My oldest daughter is taking advanced algebra in 8th grade, she took her SATs last year, and she's in honors English classes. There is no way my former school could have offered her what this bigger suburban school is able to. They have a huge selection of electives, more choices in music and sports, all sorts of things that I love my kids can do.

That's just me, though. I used to work with an RN who'd come from a rural critical access hospital, and she really enjoyed it. The one unit was the ED, floor, OB, etc. units and she did it all. She had some STORIES!! :woot:

Now I get this is just an anecdotal experience, but I shadowed in a rural ED while taking my CNA class. They had exactly zero patients that shift; the RNs said that wasn't uncommon. To me, the idea of being a slow unit most of the time--until you have to stabilize the farmer who rolled his tractor until he can be airlifted to the nearest level 1 trauma center 150 miles away--is absolutely terrifying.

Have you checked out the Rural Nursing forum under Specialties?