In the USA, the population of rural areas has always been concerned about access to the healthcare system. Not every town can provide people with necessary conditions in terms of health, and nurses are the ones who can help. They are capable of eliminating the obstacles rural people face and can bring healthcare even to the remote communities.
tailored to your instructions
for only $13.00 $11.05/page
Possible Barriers to Healthcare
The key issue for people living in rural communities is socioeconomic deprivation. The lack of investment into rural hospitals leads to their financial instability and further closure. According to Stanhope and Lancaster (2014), the sparseness of the population influences the amount and quality of health services in the region (p. 435). The travel distances differ significantly from those of the urban environment, and simple fueling of emergency cars becomes more expensive for hospitals. Hence, the cost of providing services to the patient increases. The situation worsens due to the lack of personnel: nurses, physicians, and other staff. The combination of these factors results in the deprivation of rural residents of essential care.
Also, the acceptability and affordability of care should be considered as other barriers. Stanhope and Lancaster (2014) stress that acceptability is about the manner of offering services to the locals, as their values and norms might require a specific approach (p. 435). Affordability is related to the cost of healthcare insurances and medical supplies which are hardly ever accessible for an average rural person. Lower incomes limit possibilities (Warren & Smalley, 2014, p. 15).
Warren and Smalley (2014) present a behavioral model to explain some barriers (p. 12). They connect three types of characteristics with the use of healthcare services: predisposing, enabling, and need factors. The crucial ones are the predisposing factors. They affect a person’s ability to use medical care, and encompass his sociodemographic characteristics along with beliefs and views about the healthcare system.
Ways to Fight the Barriers
Nurses are able to intervene and minimize consequences of the shortage of access to medical care. First of all, they are responsible for working with health habits in rural communities. Changing the general attitude of rural residents to health might positively affect their present and future condition, and prevent serious diseases. Community events, like a hospital-sponsored health fair, could be a way of communicating and providing the residents with the needed services (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014, p. 439). Moreover, a public health nurse can collaborate with community’s organizations to reduce the side effects of cultural aspects. Local organizations consist of locals, who know the preferences of the community members and can deal with them.
Another way to help the rural population would be to improve the general condition of health infrastructure in rural areas. The shortage of nurses provokes the development of the issue. Warren and Smalley (2014) conclude that the increase in the number of health specialists and new clinics would help with solving it (p. 25). However, it is impossible without the overall augmentation of nurses prepared for practice in remote regions.
To sum up, rural communities face severe challenges in terms of healthcare nowadays. Cooperation of health specialists and the local population can turn around the situation. Nurses should understand rural culture and be ready to encounter its aspects. Eliminating the barriers is possible, and it is up to nurses to become accessible providers of health services to rural residents.
as little as 3 hours
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2014). Public health nursing: Population-centred health care in the community. New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Warren, J., & Smalley, K. B. (2014). Rural public health: Best practices and preventive models. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.