Health care in rural hospitals: A role for nurse practitioners

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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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalAdvanced Emergency Nursing Journal
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

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Keywords

  • addressing disparities in rural health care
  • advanced practice nursing
  • health care
  • needs of rural hospitals
  • nurse practitioner roles
  • rural hospitals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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