Rural is a complex concept, and many sources describe it in different ways. The purpose of this paper is to explore and define the concept of rural, and describe how it relates to the future practice of a family nurse practitioner.
The reason for choosing this concept for analysis is to develop critical thinking skills, to differentiate urban and rural, and to promote an understanding of rural. It is important as a future family nurse practitioner to understand the concept of rural, because according to the United States Census Bureau, almost 20% of the population in the United States of America is considered rural. Even if one does not practice in a rural area, patients may come to more urbanized areas for specialized care.
Look at Sources of Evidence
Rural can be described in a variety of ways: geographically, culturally, socially, and based on population. The United States Census Bureau defines rural by ruling it out from urban. “’Rural’ encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area” (https://www.census.gov/geo/reference/urban-rural.html). Hollywood has depicted rural in television shows, such as The Andy Griffith Show. Life in Mayberry is depicted as a community; it is slow paced and everyone looked out for each other (Leonard & Thomas, 1960-1968).
Country musicians, in particular, have at least one song apiece talking about their hometown. Many of the songs show rural as more of a small-town life. Bruce, Petreglia, and Underwood (2005, track 13) note the differences between the single-stoplight town of Checotah and the big city of Hollywood. In the song “Where the Green Grass Grows”, Wiseman and Leary (1997, track 1), talk about a young man from a small town, anxious to get away, only to realize he misses his slow-paced country life. Throughout many country songs, the meaning of rural is similar. It speaks about a simple life in the country, where everyone knows each other and time passes slowly.
Construct Contrary and Related/Borderline Cases
The opposite of rural is urban, metropolis, and city, according to the thesaurus (https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/rural). Urban is defined by the United State Census Bureau as, urban areas, which have at least 50,000 people, and as urban clusters, which have 2,500 to 50,000 people (https://www.census.gov/geo/reference/urban-rural.html). In popular culture the city is defined by bright lights, dreams. It is fast paced and commercialized. New York City is defined as a “concrete jungle where dreams come true” (Shuckburgh et al., 2009, track 1). According to Louis Wirth (1938), urbanism is a way of life defined by its liveliness and impersonal nature. This denotes the culture of an urban area.
Remote is related to rural, but is described more in distance than population. The definition is “situated some distance away, out of the way, and secluded” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/remote). People from rural areas may also be from remote areas. They are similar concepts, but different.
Formulate Criteria/Defining Attributes
Rural is more than just geography; it is also a way of life. It is rural if there is a small population of less than 50,000 people, in a remote location from city. There is a cultural difference from an urban city, due to the way of life. “The desire to do for oneself and care for oneself was strong among the rural persons interviewed and has important ramifications in relation to the provision of health care” (Long & Weinert, 1999, p. 263). While there is strong community support, people still want to be able to do for themselves.
Construct a Model Case
If Mayberry is not rural, then nothing is. In the episode Ellie Comes to Town, from The Andy Griffith Show, a new young pharmacist, or druggist, named Ellie is hired at her uncle’s store. One of the townspeople, Emma, comes in to buy her drugs. When Ellie prompts the customer for her prescription, Emma said that is not how business is done there and storms out. Emma then claims to be ill without her pills. In the next scene, Andy and Ellie are seen bringing food to Emma, which already has a table full of food the other townspeople have brought her. The town of Mayberry, from The Andy Griffith Show, is the epitome of rural. This small town is far from a larger city, and it is a community where everyone knows and helps everyone.
My concluding definition of rural is an area with a small population, and is far from urban areas; rural is also a community that knows, cares, and helps each other. This is important to practice because this population can be easily overlooked, but needs special attention. There may be fewer resources available to patients from rural areas, so the family nurse practitioner will need to be innovative in approaching care for the patient. Other skills the practitioner will need are resourcefulness and a cultural understanding in order to effectively care for this population.