Barriers to Healthcare Services in Rural Areas of the US

There are several possible barriers to healthcare services for the population living in rural areas. These include barriers related to the provision of staff with regard to an adequate number of professionals to perform nursing activities, the career prospects and professional development of the staff, and equipment available for healthcare professionals.

The main obstacle to performing care is evidently the inadequate relationship between the number of professionals in these areas and the skills each of them has to possess, as well as the functions they are expected to perform. Every professional has to have the skills to function in a variety of conditions at the same time; however, addressing needs is challenging due to different qualifications and the age of staff members (Figueroa, 2013). The assisting staff must perform duties delegated to them without adequate supervision, as supervision must be performed by full-time operational nurse managers who are often overloaded. Apart from that, the lack of full-time doctors leads to medical errors on the nurses’ part and, in general, a lower level of healthcare services for patients. The staff lacks access to regular professional development; thus, the nursing staff does not possess adequate chances for career advancement. This leads to less-qualified personnel, who cannot and are not allowed to perform care in all ward settings. Moreover, equipment and consumables are not always maintained properly; therefore, the safety of provided care is not fully ensured.

From the point of view of the government, resources should be allocated adequately, and incentives should be increased to meet the expectations of nurses entering into practice. In practical terms, in order to eliminate existing barriers, the assisting staff should be properly supervised, and the nursing mix should be put together according to the educational background, skills, and abilities of the members (Figueroa, 2013). The nursing staff should ensure that consumables and equipment are maintained well and are in good order. Moreover, an application of staffing mix variables is advisable in order to be able to perform different care activities, as required by the situation.


Figueroa, S. (2013). Policy barriers for advanced practice nurses in rural health care. Health Policy and Technology, 2(4), 196-202.

Kulbok, P.A., Thatcher, E., Park, E., & Meszaros, P.S. (2012). Evolving public health nursing roles: Focus on community participatory health promotion and prevention. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(2). Web.

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