A comparison of attitudes of nurses towards professional autonomy

Date
1993-12
Authors
Akoma, Christiana
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Abstract

A three-group, nonexperimental, descriptive design was used to compare the attitudes of critical care, medical/surgical, and physicians' office nurses toward professional autonomy. A nonprobability sample of 30 subjects in each of the three groups was selected for a total sample size of 90 subjects. Only female nurses were included in the sample. Each participant was sent a questionnaire package containing the two instruments to complete and return by mail within 2 weeks. The demographic data sheet contained information pertaining to the characteristics of the sample. The Attitudes Toward Professional Autonomy Scale (ATPAS), used to examine the differences in the attitudes of the three groups of nurses toward professional autonomy, is a 30-item summated rating scale consisting of statements describing situations in which a nurse must take some action which requires the exercise of some degree of professional autonomy. Subjects were asked to respond to each item according to the extent to which they were likely to perform the requirement suggested in each scale item. The nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis test was used to analyze differences in the groups' mean professional autonomy attitude scores according to the three clinical settings (Research Question 1) and the three educational preparation levels (Research Question 2) of the nurses. No significant difference (p≤.05) was found between the groups' mean scores of attitudes toward professional autonomy and the three groups (critical care, medical/surgical, and physicians' office nurses) nor among the three educational preparation levels (diploma, associate, and bachelor's degrees). Using the Mann-Whitney U test, no significant difference (p≤.05) was found between the groups' mean professional autonomy attitude scores and membership or nonmembership in professional organizations (Research Question 3). Thus, results of this study indicated that neither clinical setting, educational preparation of the nurses, nor membership or nonmembership in professional organizations influenced attitudes of nurses in this sample toward professional autonomy.

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Keywords
Health and environmental sciences, Critical care, Office nurses, Surgical nurses, Nursing, Attitudes, Comparative studies
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