Nurse Specialties: Rural Nursing

As is the case with many other nursing specialties, rural nursing is facing a critical shortage of professionals. These professionals are needed to help manage health issues and provide direct care for patients who live and work in remote areas of the country. They must be willing to work with fewer resources and possess a greater understanding of general health care. Experts in rural nursing are often trained in general health care, as well as specialized areas of medicine including pediatrics and geriatrics. They work in hospitals, clinics, and other settings to provide care to patients of all ages and in all stages of health conditions.

What is Rural Nursing?

Rural nurses work away from urban centers, in rural areas of the country where people have less access to immediate healthcare and emergency services. While the job can be taxing due to fewer amenities and resources, these specialists form lasting relationships with community members and are adept at handling advanced emergency situations. They work with doctors and other medical professionals who choose to specialize in rural care and often live in the communities where they work. There is a sense of family among patients and healthcare providers in rural communities, so rural nurses may also make house calls, organize family healthcare, and perform community functions with other health professionals.

According to the National Library of Medicine, rural death rates for certain diseases is higher than in urban areas, partially due to lack of proper health care and management.  The Rural Nurse Organization is an association for professionals in this unique career that helps members connect and make a difference in these areas of the country. At the RNO, “members can meet the officers, learn about the organization and engage in a discussion group”. Members can also access the organization’s resource list. The goal of the organization is to help rural nurses network and find support in the industry.

Nursing School Curriculum for Rural Nursing

Rural nurses work within a specialty of their own, but may be any type of nurse care provider. CNs, LPNs, RNs, and NPs are all important specialists needed in rural areas of the United States. Because rural nurses may come from any variety of licenses and specialties, school curriculum varies widely. As with most career paths, professionals must receive a minimum 2-year degree and RN designation before working in an advanced specialty position. However, CNAs and LPNs are also critical to the mission carried out by healthcare providers in rural areas. These types of professionals may achieve a one-year diploma or special certification to assist other providers in the industry.

Careers for Nursing School Graduates with Rural Nursing Specialty

The career options for graduates who specialize in rural nursing are vast thanks to the great need for all types of professionals in rural areas. They work in areas of the country where urban healthcare amenities are typically unavailable. They may work in hospitals, clinics, or home health care settings. These professionals work with a variety of illnesses, including mental diseases, geriatric conditions, and environmental health issues. Additionally, rural professionals work with pediatrics, cardiology, oncology, and many other specialties within the field of medicine.

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