Nurse Staffing in Critical Access Hospitals Structural Factors Linked to Quality Care
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.
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