Are you looking to get out of the city and try nursing in a more rural or remote location? Working with Health Authorities in 9 provinces and Territories across Canada, Select Medical Connections offers a variety of placements in unique rural locations for our travel nurses. We also offer opportunities for nurses to work in remote locations, more isolated from city centers. 

It’s important to note that we do not consider rural and remote locations to be the same. While everyone recognizes remote locations as distant and far removed from urban centers, rural locations are more difficult to pinpoint. There are inevitably personal nuances to what one nurse might consider rural compared to another. For the sake of this blog, we are grouping these locations so you can understand the general scope of considerations.

In our experience, rural and remote locations offer unmatched opportunities for adventure and once-in-a-lifetime work placements. But they aren’t for everyone… To help travel nurses navigate this important planning decision, here’s what you should consider when it comes to these contracts.

1. A Rural and Remote Retail Environment

Depending on the location of your contract, you may not be able to access your essential items very easily. For example, travelling to retail shops could be challenging, and online deliveries could be slow or impossible. Additionally, the price of products you are accustomed to could be more expensive. Our advice is to do a quick Google Maps search to understand the retail climate of your new post. That way you can see what stores are near your location and if essential items are difficult to get at your destination. You can be sure to prioritize bringing them or decide ahead of time that you are going to live without them. Either way, you are informed and not surprised upon arrival.

2. Expect to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Being a travel nurse means moving to a new community – urban, rural, or remote! It necessarily involves saying goodbye to your friends and family to live somewhere new. Adjusting to new surroundings and new co-workers can be overwhelming without the comforts of home. In more rural settings, finding your space can take more time. The team might feel smaller, your home might feel different. We’re here to tell you “that’s ok.” The reality is these changes come with incredible opportunities for you to try new things and make new friends. In the end, those experiences will far outweigh the awkward conversations and uncomfortable feelings that exist when you are settling in somewhere new. So make sure that you take the time to introduce yourself to people in your new community and don’t forget to make the most of the adventure ahead of you. 

3. Opportunities for Your Nursing Career

Many travel nurses use rural contracts as a learning experience to develop their professional skills. Smaller facilities may allow you to do more as a nurse than ever before. In remote locations, the community may lean on your skills in new, or more challenging ways. Before you commit to your first rural or remote contract, it’s important to ask yourself if you are up for that challenge.  

As a nurse, various contracts may require specialized training, including de-escalating aggression. San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training is also incredibly important for nurses who work directly and indirectly with Indigenous people. Expanding your skillset is always a wise investment, and while on the road, travel nurses can take advantage of online courses to develop their abilities. In rural or remote areas, you can find postings that offer challenges, additional training, or promote learning. So why not seize these opportunities for growth?

4. Unforgettable Outdoor Adventure

When travel nursing in rural and remote locations, prepare yourself to spend time outdoors. It’s the best way to ensure you get the most out of your new contract. Packing for the climate is key here. That way you can venture out on your off days, rain or shine (or snow!), and look forward to being amazed by your new surroundings…hello, epic selfie;)  Whether you love taking long walks in the forest, or trying heli-skiing for the first time – there will certainly be something for you to enjoy outside. Just be sure to download your podcast or playlist before heading out…as cellphone reception can be spotty.

5. Expect Self Learning

If you haven’t guessed it yet, all of the above-mentioned opportunities lead to the greatest one of all…Learning more about yourself. Maybe you’ll learn to live without something you thought you couldn’t, or discover a new way to approach a work challenge or develop a greater capacity for cultural awareness. It could be that you learn how to enjoy spending time by yourself or train to climb a mountain that you never thought possible.  The opportunities for self-discovery are endless while you are travel nursing, and even more in rural and remote communities. Just remember to practice some self-care along the way. Adventures can be taxing – and you can only seize those moments by taking care of yourself before and after them.

Why Choose a Rural or Remote Nurse Job? 

There is a special kind of beauty that goes hand in hand with a rural travel nursing contract — a small-town atmosphere, new culture and traditions, exploring somewhere you likely would never see otherwise, and a community that heavily relies on your skills as a nurse.

There’s something so unique and special about your first rural travel nursing contract, but it’s important to be prepared. Learn more about the benefits of travel nursing.