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The Benefits of Working as a Rural Nurse Practitioner
The Pandemic has created a wave of city-dwellers heading to suburbia to start life anew. This rural shift can also be beneficial for Nurse Practitioners looking to make a career change. If this sounds like a change that interests you, consider the incentives that make rural practice a great employment choice.
Higher Job Satisfaction- Nurse Practitioners that practice in rural settings are more likely to endorse higher job satisfaction levels than their urban counterparts1.
Long Term Employment- NP’s that practice in rural locations are more likely to remain at the same job than are Nurse Practitioners working in a non-rural setting1.
Clinical Autonomy- If you are looking for employment opportunities where you fully utilize your skills with less micromanagement and oversight, then consider rural practice. Due to the remote nature of these positions there is often less required oversight and restrictions, allowing for more liberal NP practice.
A Better Work-Life Balance-Working in a rural community allows more control over one’s schedule and greater flexibility to accommodate your personal life. There are also the added benefits of increased access to the great outdoors, opportunities to decompress while outside the clinic and less commuting.
Take Advantage of Rural Loan Repayment Programs-There are more opportunities for student loan repayment for rural health care providers than their urban colleagues. Rural medical groups, as well as state and federal programs frequently offer attractive repayment benefits to practitioners willing to work in medically underserved areas. One such program is the National Health Service Corp, where service time in a medically underserved area is given in exchange for loan repayment.
Added Financial Benefits-Factors like a lower cost-of-living, signing bonuses and increased practice incentives for hard to fill vacancies, can also make rural practice an attractive option for Nurse Practitioners.
Deeper Relationships with Patients-Rural practice allows Nurse Practitioners to establish and maintain a deeper connection with their patients. These relationships can be multi-generational, allowing NP’s to see familial disease trends while enjoying increased patient appreciation, and communication. This interpersonal practice also provides greater insight into patient stressors, social support networks, and obstacles to care that NP’s can leverage to promote more effective care plans.
Steady Income Streams-When you have increased patient demand and fewer medical Providers in the community, you are more likely to have a steady income stream. Rural NP’s can reap the benefits of decreased competition, unlike their fellow colleagues practicing in more crowded markets.
1. Spetz, J., Skillman, S. M., & Andrilla, C. H. A. (2017). Nurse Practitioner Autonomy and Satisfaction in Rural Settings. Medical Care Research and Review, 74(2), 227–235.
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