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Rural Nurse Fellow Program

The Rural Nurse Fellow Program provides an opportunity for senior nursing students to complete a preceptorship experience (capstone/directed study) in a rural healthcare facility. The program is designed to provide exposure to rural healthcare, understand issues facing rural healthcare providers, and allow nursing students to develop the specific skills necessary for practicing in rural hospitals. Following completion of the program, students will be designated as a Rural Nurse Fellow.

Rural Nurse Fellows learn to

  • Identify challenges facing rural healthcare providers.
  • Experience the role of the rural nurse generalist.
  • Analyze the impact of public policy decisions on rural hospitals.
  • Discuss the role of telehealth on rural health care delivery.
  • Explore issues of recruitment and retention of rural health care providers.
  • Identify effective strategies for dealing with challenges facing rural health care providers.


student at fellowship

Rural hospitals in South Dakota and surrounding states will be contacted to present the Rural Nurse Fellow program and discuss the possibility of student preceptor placement.  Information will be retained on those facilities interested in nursing student preceptor placement.

Semester Five Coordinators for the Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, Brookings and Rapid City campuses will meet with students prior to requesting placement for the capstone experience. The Rural Nurse Fellow Program will be described as an option for clinical placement. A list of prospective sites will be created. As the list of sites is developed and strengthened, the list will be presented to students as prospective clinical sites.

Students requesting placement in a rural hospital will request a specific facility on their request form. The Semester Coordinator will contact the facility to request clinical placement for the student.  The ideal experience will expose the student to the wide variety of rural nurse roles with potential additional time spent in areas such as homecare/hospice, outpatient areas or long term care. The hospital will provide the preceptor.

Students participating in the Rural Health Fellows Program will ideally be placed in the same clinical group for NURS 495. The NURS 495 instructor should be familiar with content on rural health.

NURS 495 assignments will be designed to include content on rural health issues.

Upon successful completion of the capstone experience, the student shall be designated a Rural Nurse Fellow.