Health care in rural hospitals: a role for nurse practitioners

Adv Emerg Nurs J. Apr-Jun 2011;33(2):145-54. doi: 10.1097/TME.0b013e318217c96f.

Abstract

Disparities in rural health care are associated with poor patient outcomes. There is a need to further evaluate opportunities to bridge the gaps and improve rural health care. This descriptive, exploratory study examined the current and potential expanded use of nurse practitioners (NPs) in rural hospitals of one Midwestern state. Surveys (N = 136) were mailed to chief executive officers (n = 68) and chief nursing officers (n = 68) of rural hospitals in Nebraska with a response rate of 57.3% and 80.8%, respectively. The majority of respondents represented critical access hospitals. A convenience sample of NPs (N = 19) who practiced in rural communities also completed written surveys. Findings identified potential opportunities to expand the use of NPs to provide emergency department coverage and inpatient hospital management of patients in rural hospitals. Education and training of NPs need to include the essential critical thinking and skill sets to manage these types of health care needs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Hospitals, Rural*
  • Nebraska
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care