Rural Australia faces unique issues in workforce management and health care delivery. This paper provides an integrated review of the existing literature describing the work of practice nurses in rural Australia and the perceptions of consumers. Distinct differences are evident in the role of the practice nurse between rural and metropolitan practices. A key difference is that the rural practice nurse is known within the community and plays an important role in care coordination. Findings from two studies of consumer perceptions of the role of PN in rural areas suggest that the more remotely located the consumer, the greater is their perception that the nurse works under the direct supervision of the doctor. Currently, remotely located residents do not support an expanded autonomous role for the nurse. Greater research is required to develop the role of the practice nurse in rural Australia.