Nurse Practitioners Fill Primary Care Shortage in Rural Areas
Challenges for Nurse Practitioners in Rural Settings
Unique Benefits Rural Settings Have to Offer
- Greater autonomy. Due to a lack of specialty providers and physicians in rural settings, mid-level providers are able to work more independently and provide more extensive care than they might offer in a large bustling practice with specialists right down the hall.
- Higher job satisfaction. NPs who work in rural settings often report higher job satisfaction compared to other regions of the country. Because they are able to work more closely with their patients, they meet the traditional role of primary care as they take time to get to know the patient’s physical and personal needs. Spending more time with patients on a personal level means happier patients and more satisfied, less stressed providers.
- Lower cost of living, better pay. The cost of living is more affordable than in urban areas, but NPs can also make more money in a rural setting, too. This higher salary often offsets the inconvenience of a 50-mile trip to the grocery store and other day-to-day realities of a remote lifestyle. Thanks to the National Health Services Corp (NHSC), NPs who choose to work in a rural setting can earn $60,000 in student loan reimbursement in exchange for just two years of work in the country.