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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Margaret Hegge


attitudes of associate degree nurses, psychological aspects of nursing, professional socialization


A convenience sample of 132 students from a public associate degree nursing program were studied to determine if there were differences among them at graduation in their role conception of the registered nurse. Role conception is a part of the socialization process which refers to the images of the rights and obligations of a role or position.
The Ideal Role Conception Scale was used to measure how the student viewed certain behaviors expected by nurses in a hospital setting. These behaviors reflected a professional role conception emphasizing loyalty to the profession or a bureaucratic role conception emphasizing loyalty to the rules and policies of an institution. Other factors that may have influenced role conception such as age, previous education and previous work experience were also examined. The students also completed a personal data form which provided information on specific demographic data as well as students' perceptions on clinical and educational preparedness for the registered nurse role.
Role theory as defined by Hardy and Conway (1988) provided the conceptual frame work for the study. Eleven null hypothesis were identified for this comparative study.
The data was examined by analysis of variance to determine if there were significant differences among the groups of students on role conception. Log linear analysis was used to determine if there were significant relationships between such variables as perception of educational preparation and role conception. Descriptive statistics such as measures on central tendency and measures of dispersion summarized the data.
There were no significant differences found among the students on role conception. There were no significant relationships found between age and role conception and previous education and role conception. A significant relationship was found between previous work experience and role conception. Students (N = 39) who had not previous worked in a health setting had a higher professional role conception than those students (N = 92) who had previous work experience. Significant relationships were also found between perceptions of educational preparedness and clinical practice. As students perceived themselves better prepared educationally/they perceived themselves better prepared for clinical practice. Both professional and bureaucratic role conception scores were lower for students who perceived themselves less prepared for the role of the registered nurse and for clinical practice.
Since the workplace is a significant influence on students' role conception, clinical practice experiences and preceptors must be carefully selected to promote the acquiring of skills and knowledge to increase clinical competence and self-confidence. Clinical instructors must be expert clinicians in order to effectively model the nurse role. Nursing faculty need to continue efforts to socialize students into the role of the registered nurse.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Associate degree nurses -- Attitudes
Nursing -- Study and teaching (Associate degree) -- Psychological aspects
Professional socialization



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1994 Julie Hanson. All rights reserved