Perceived barriers to nurse practitioner practice in rural settings

Linda Lindeke, Angela Jukkala, Mary Tanner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Context: Rural residents experience the same incidence of acute illness as urban populations and have higher levels of chronic illness. Overall, access to adequate rural health care is limited. Nurse practitioners (NPs) have been identified as safe, cost-effective providers in meeting these challenges in rural settings. Purpose: This replication study was conducted to examine NP perceptions of barriers to rural practice in Minnesota. Findings were compared to earlier studies to examine issues that have persisted over time. Methods: A Barriers to Practice checklist was mailed to NPs from the database of the Board of Nursing of a midwestern state. Rural NPs (n = 191) identified and described barriers to practice and rated the overall restrictiveness of their practice. Findings: Barriers to practice were perceived to be prevalent. Persisting barriers continued to stand in the way of full utilization of NP roles. Lack of understanding of NP roles on the part of the public and other health professionals has been particularly problematic over time. Key issues in 2001 were low salaries, lack of adequate office space, and a limited peer network. Perceived restrictiveness of the practice climate, gauged as somewhat restrictive, remained unchanged between 1996 and 2001. Conclusions: NPs have an excellent history of meeting rural primary health care needs. Enhancing the NP work environment could prove instrumental to retaining these professionals in the work force and thereby contribute to improved access and quality of care in underserved rural communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-181
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005


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