Nurse staffing in critical access hospitals: Structural factors linked to quality care

Mary E. Cramer, Katherine J. Jones, Melody Hertzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Evidence links the amount of registered nurse care to improved patient outcomes in large hospitals, but little is known about registered nurse staffing in small critical access hospitals, which comprise 30% of all US hospitals. Our study findings show that the unique work environment of critical access hospitals means registered nurses are often overextended, reassigned from inpatient care, and/or interrupted creating potential safety and quality risks. Further research is needed to understand what critical access hospitals consider "safe" levels of nurse staffing and what processes are implemented to mitigate these risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-343
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Care Quality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011



  • critical access hospital
  • nurse staffing
  • patient safety
  • quality care
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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