Being a nurse by profession is noble, because you serve and provide care for people who are not even related to you. This is why aside from the necessary training and education, nurses should also possess a caring nature to find fulfillment in their chosen career.
Registered nurses assigned in rural areas face different types of challenges. Though not applicable to all rural nurses, majority of them have to deal with isolation and limited support.
- Autonomy. Working in the rural area allows nurses to have greater independence. Nurses are commonly understaffed, requiring them to have more responsibilities. This turns into an advantage because they develop a sense of freedom to be more accountable with their job, broadening their skills and being more confident. Rural nurses are even considered community health leaders that they can promote change.
- Meaningful friendship. By being a rural nurse, you work with the entire community. Your patient could be your neighbor and they can get to know you and vice versa. If you know them, you can provide the right care that is sufficient to their needs and these people know how to return the favor by treating you as family.
- Lower cost of living. In rural areas, prices of commodities are typically cheaper, and a simpler life is possible. This benefits nurses by lowering down their living expenses and being exposed to a simple lifestyle.
- Isolation. Isolation may only mean being away from your loved ones, but with the advent of technology, you can already communicate easily with them. This could also mean finding difficulty accessing medical supplies, especially if you are assigned to an isolated place.
- Lack of support. Rural nurses face the challenge of understaffing and lack of supplies, though this is not applicable to all rural communities. But oftentimes, nurses are regarded as community health workers counted on by the people. This means much is expected from them.
- Lower salary and fewer benefits. In most cases, nurses in the rural areas are burdened by lower cost of salary compared to those working in the urban areas. If they are not compensated well, chances are, they could not see themselves working in this setup for a longer time.
Working as a registered nurse in rural areas has its share of advantages and disadvantages, and so does working in the urban areas. It is unfair to say that it is more rewarding to work in urban places than in rural areas because fulfillment is relative.
There are nurses who find a different sense of fulfillment in working in smaller communities perhaps because they are used to a simple life and they are passionate about providing health care to people who have less access to it. It all lies to how they view their job, their motivation for work, their personality and their professional goals.