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July 13, 2005

Rural nursing

How nice to hear from a rural nurse practitioner.

Usmap I am a rural clinic advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP).  As part of an initiative at the state level, designated rural health clinics must employ ARNPs. There are 2 ARNPs operating the walk-in clinic. We work with 4 physicians who rotate as needed as our back up resource. Occasionally, when there is a need, I fill in for the local community college as a clinical instructor. Having spent most of my 25 year nursing career in a medium size city, I greatly admired the nurses working in the rural setting!

At our little local hospital, the census may only be 2-4 acute patients.  One RN covers the ER and another covers the floor.  The floor nurse may be covering a surgery patient while caring for other patients of any age or diagnosis.  She may be admitting an obstetrics patient while waiting for the “on call” nurse to come and take over that duty.  If the ER is slow, that nurse will assist as needed.  However, the ER may receive a critical patient needing transfer to a larger facility, keeping that nurses hands full!  Clearly the rural nurse wears many hats and has a wide base of knowledge and experience.

My duties as an ARNP here are much like those in the city.  My patients are usually a bit more relaxed and friendly here. The patients show a genuine interest in getting to know me.  I see industrial injuries from the orchards and occasionally from the farms.  I have patients living "up lake". If they become ill in the dead of winter, they have to wait for a boat or plane to bring them "down lake" to visit the clinic.  The boat only sails every few days in the winter!

Nursing is the most interesting profession I can imagine.  I learn something new every day and am thankful to my fellow nurses (and to my patients) I am fortunate for having such a ”rich” career.


July 13, 2005 in What I Do | Permalink


I appreciated reading of your work in a rural hospital. I moved to this rural location right out of nursing school in Chicago 10 years ago. I soon discovered that rural life has a culture all it's own. Rural nursing certainly has it's own unique challenges, but the opportunity to really get to know our patients and their families is so very rewarding.

Posted by: Kathy | Sep 30, 2005 9:29:34 AM

How wonderful to hear of your work. I too work in a rural health clinic. I am a recent NP and the transition from my former specialty to primary care has been a growth process.
I enjoy the personal interaction with patients and their families. Mental health is also a large part of my patient load, as psychiatrists are very rare in this area. My experience in mental health has brought about an increase in patients to our clinic.

Posted by: APNP | Jul 22, 2005 7:21:38 PM

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