Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

LaVonne Fox


Occupational Therapy; Rural Health Services


Rural hospitals have been an integral part of the culture of rural America, where clients were once able to seek services needed in their hometowns. Now more than ever, rural facilities are facing increased challenges to remain viable and at the same time continue to deliver high quality care to their communities (American Hospital Association, 2005). With small towns becoming smaller, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit allied health professionals to these areas. The reasons for this vary from area to area yet there are some commonalities such as; the misperceptions of limited community activities and resources, lower pay scales, and perceived limited professional experience opportunities.

The methodology for this scholarly project included an extensive review of the literature. Information was gained on the benefits, challenges and resources both personally and professionally for the potential health care professional.

A resource manual was developed and can be a vital tool in the recruitment of allied health professionals, specifically Occupational Therapists, to rural areas. This resource will includes; a) the benefits of rural practice settings, b) the type of experiences a therapist may gain, c) where supports, resources and information can be located to assist the rural occupational therapists, d) testimonials from rural occupational therapists, e) wage information, f) rural culture and g) personal reasons for living and working in a rural area. Additional uses of the manual may be for OT educational settings to share with students as they prepare to research potential jobs. The ultimate goal is to assist in increasing the number of rural Occupational Therapists in order to provide a valuable service to an underserved area population.