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Graduation Date

12-2016

Abstract

Title: Disparities in Emergency and Urgent Care Services in Rural and Urban Communities

Abstract

There has been little research concerning the differences of rural emergency and urgent care compared to similar health facilities in urban areas. In this study, we aimed to investigate the differences in emergency and urgent care facilities in rural and urban areas. We hypothesized that a significant difference exists in quality of care and access to urgent care centers and local emergency departments in rural and urban areas. Data were collected from a convenience sample of 176 college students at a rural southeast regional university after IRB approval. Participants completed a 20 item questionnaire that included demographics, confidence in their county's healthcare system, and quality of care provided in emergency and urgent care facilities in their respective communities for emergency situations. A chi-square test of independence of (X2(1) = 32.069, p =.000) found a highly significant interaction that supported the hypothesis that participants in rural communities were, in fact, less likely to have confidence in their hometown’s healthcare system than participants in urban communities. A second highly significant interaction was found: (X2(1) = 38.208, p=.000) which indicated that participants that identified themselves as rural residents were much more likely to receive medical treatment outside of their hometown than people in urban towns. These findings have significant implications for health disparities and access to quality health care in rural and medically underserved areas. The under-utilization of medical services due to lack of confidence is a concern that needs to be addressed.

Keywords: emergency care, urgent care, health disparities, rural/urban communities, quality care, under-utilization.

Student Author Biography

All authors are recent graduates of fall 2016 from the undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program at Georgia Southern University. All authors successfully passed their NCLEX and are practicing as registered nurses in their respective communities. Sarah Smith and Melissa Monticalvo are working in Medical-Surgical, Sayde Smith is in Neuro-ICU, and Hannah Herman is in Oncology.

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