Rural and remote areas are the places located outside major cities. Residents of these places are identified by the sources of their income which include: pastoralism, farming, mining, and tourism. Such areas are usually inhabited by the older population, and hence, the health risks are higher as compared to other areas. Additionally, people living in those areas may suffer a shortage of health services. The shortage might be caused by a low number of health professionals in the area and inhibit access to medical services due to the poor infrastructure of these regions.
The purpose of this paper is to define the critical role nurses play in rural areas as well as highlight some of the challenges that they face. Another objective of this position paper is to identify activities that should be carried out by the nurses. It is clear that working in hardship areas is a big challenge that requires more than just adequate professional skills. Working in a hardship area requires dedication so that to perform duties effectively while still being guided by the NMBA code of ethics.
Working in the rural and remote areas requires nurses with advanced practice skills due to the level of difficulty that the nurses go through in such places as it is hard to secure medical facilities in such areas. Nurses in the rural and remote areas have to handle more work than the average nurses handle; as such, nurses must attend more patients. Working in such areas results in isolation as one is limited to the amount of information that he or she can access due to poor technology. People living in these remote areas face health challenges that can be attributed to the level of life and lack of relevant information.
On average, people in rural areas are less informed as compared to those living in urban areas and/or other more developed places. Consequently, nurses in those areas have to attend more patients than in urban or more developed areas.
It is assumed that the nurses working in such an environment are motivated by the Nurse ethics governing the nurses. They, therefore, cannot fail to go to the assigned regions. It is also assumed that the nurses who go to rural areas have no choice but to deliver quality services to those locations.
The other assumption is that the scope of research followed a standard way of statistics collection and a sample is taken to review their role is accurate. A sample taken is assumed to be a representation of the actual population of all nurses working in rural areas. Also, due to the code of ethics, it is assumed that the nurses deliver their duties to the maximum and that they provide the service purely in a professional manner with no personal relationship with the patients.
Nurses in rural areas play a critical role in helping local to access health services that would otherwise be hard to attain. By providing the patients with a diagnosis and curative measures, the nurses play a critical role in reducing the pressure that could, however, be vested on the advanced medical units.
Most of the nurses working in rural and remote areas have a wide range of skills due to variation of cases that they handle. The nurse must be well equipped with a broad knowledge of various issues to help the patient or tackle different problems. Such problems include the following: child health, the main constituent population in rural areas is the children. Hence, the nurse must be able to deal with almost all problems associated with the development of infants so as to help reduce the major issue of child mortality.
Immunization is an issue that might arise unexpectedly to caution any outbreak. It’s the duty of the nurses to ensure that if a directive to give an immunization is issued, all the parties exposed to the danger get the right immunization. It is a critical role that the nurses have to play if they are asked to or in case of infants; they have to conduct regular immunization. Patients with chronic diseases who cannot afford home care are mostly sent to rural areas. It is the role of the nurses to look after such individuals. Hence, they should be equipped with the technical know-how on handling such cases.
In rural and remote areas, the nurses must help in guiding the new mothers on the ways of handling the baby. Most mothers in such areas are not well equipped with the knowledge of how to handle their newborns. Nurses must ensure that they help the mothers cater for their children needs effectively by providing them with the information they need.
The worst condition facing the nurses in rural areas is poor working conditions combined by the heavy workload. Working in such harsh conditions where the nurses face a major problem of isolation from information calls for higher remuneration of those nurses. In order to be motivated to provide medical attention to the patients, there are several steps that should be taken to ensure that the nurses remain in their code of conducts as follows:
The Australian Government, by means of the Department of Health and Ageing, should fund a project to be implemented at the national level that seeks to ensure that National Nursing Organization competency standards that guide the advanced registered nurses. The organization could ensure that all nurses, including those working in rural and remote areas, are guided on the best practices to undertake. The body will ensure the observance of rights and privileges of the nurses and fair treatment through fair remuneration according to the amount of hardship that each nurse faces.
The government should work closely with the non- governmental organizations including the public sector to evaluate different conditions that the advanced nursing practitioners work. Some areas require more than just the advanced nurse’s attention; in such areas, it might be impossible for the nurse herself to cover all the demands that might arise. So as to ensure that this particular plan is effective, the state should establish a particular nursing department headed by a director who will give instructions to all the nurses. Having a nursing director can be far much beneficial to advanced nurses since it would give them a sense of representation. Setting a department to purely handle the complaints from the nurses and to review their working conditions regularly would give the nurses a sense of security. Through this department, they could raise their complaints without the fear of intimidation as they will not have to wait for the trade union to negotiate better terms with the government.
It is the role of nurses working in rural areas to function as a team. The nurses must cooperate with other nurses in other regions so as to ensure effective service to all team members inclu