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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Sharon Hofland


nurse practitioners, role expectation


Although many nurses are becoming nurse practitioners, there are numerous people who are confused and unaware of the role functions of the nurse practitioner including other nurses. The problem under investigation was to determine the extent to which registered nurses in a staff position accepted the expectations of an in-patient nurse practitioner in four identified role functions—clinician, educator, researcher and consultant. The research design was nonexperimental utilizing a survey approach. The purposive sample consisted of sixty-nine staff nurses in a rural 81-bedhospital. Generally, a vast majority of the staff nurses accepted the role of the NP in the four specified role functions. The area of greatest acceptance was the role of educator with the area of least acceptance being the role of clinician and researcher. However, almost 25% of the staff nurses were uncertain or uncomfortable with the NP managing acute illness. Nearly 30% of the staff nurses were uncertain whether they would feel comfortable having a NP prescribe medications for their patients. There was a significant difference at the .05 level between the staff nurses' levels of preparation, education, knowledge of the NP role and length of employment and their levels of acceptance of the NP in the role of clinician and educator. There was also a significant difference at the .05 level between the staff nurses' knowledge of the role of the NP and their levels of comfort with the NP prescribing medications for their patients. Over three-fourths of the staff nurses felt it would be advantageous to have an NP on staff. However, only half of the staff nurses have had contact with an NP in the past. Implications of this study include the need to educate undergraduate and graduate nursing students on the role functions of the NP. NP's need to be educated on marketing their skills and to make an effort to have contact with nurses within the institution.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nurse practitioners
Role expectation



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1994 Karen Murphy. All rights reserved