June 01, 2020

Attitudes of Registered Nurses toward Nurse Practitioners


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Purpose: Registered nurses (RNs) work closely with nurse practitioners (NPs) in all facets of patient care and often have a direct influence on the patient’s perception of the professional who is directing the care, and a patient’s perceptions may affect clinical outcomes. However, few studies have been conducted to measure RN acceptance of the NP. The authors surveyed RNs in southern Illinois to assess their attitudes concerning the level of care provided by NPs. Southern Illinois was chosen because of the limited number of NPs in the area and because of concerns that limited exposure might negatively influence RN attitudes about the NP role.

Data collection: A 26-item research questionnaire, previously used with school nurses, was modified to reflect RNs in general. Seven items related to demographic information, and 19 items created a five-response Likert-formatted scale (r = .93). The questionnaire was mailed to 500 randomly selected RNs from the 11 southernmost counties of Illinois.

Conclusions: The results showed support of the NP role. RNs believed that NPs were knowledgeable, competent health care providers. RNs were also comfortable working with NPs and often consulted them for advice and information. They saw the role of the NP as a positive addition to the health care team.

Implications for practice: One identified concern was that scores indicated RNs felt that they received limited respect from NPs. Although the scores were high in this category, some RNs had concerns that NPs might not respect or understand the difficulty of the RN role in providing patient care. NPs need to recognize their collegial and professional ties to RNs and should take time to provide positive feedback to RNs as they collaborate to provide health care. Such behavior would only solidify the health team approach.


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