Political Efficacy and Political Participation of Nurse Practitioners: A Dissertation
AuthorsO'Rourke, Nancy C.
Faculty AdvisorNancy Morris
UMass Chan AffiliationsGraduate School of Nursing
Document TypeDoctoral Dissertation
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AbstractIn many states, outdated rules and regulations restrict nurse practitioners (NPs) from practicing to their full potential, often limiting patients’ access to primary care. Modernizing NP state scope of practice laws and allowing patients greater access to NPs services is a priority. Unlike other professions, nurse practitioners have been unable to consistently influence legislative changes to health policy. This study examined the political efficacy and participation of nurse practitioners in the United States today (N=632). A descriptive cross sectional design, in conjunction with a political efficacy framework, evaluated nurse practitioners’ participation in political activities and their internal and external political efficacy. Increased internal political efficacy was significantly (p < 0.001) associated with NPs who were older, had specific health policy education, and have been mentored in health policy. Our findings show that NPs vote at consistently higher rates (94%) than the general population and almost 50% report contacting legislators via mail/email/phone. As a group however, NPs report limited participation in other political activities, especially grassroots efforts. These findings hold significant implications for the profession as we strive to make policy changes across the country. It is important that educators assess our current methods of educating NPs about politics and health policy. Professional organizations and policy makers must reexamine outreach and strategies to inspire greater grassroots engagement of NPs.
Permanent Link to this Itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14038/34394
Material from this dissertation has been published in: O'Rourke NC, Crawford SL, Morris NS, Pulcini J. Political Efficacy and Participation of Nurse Practitioners. Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2017 Jan 1:1527154417728514. doi: 10.1177/1527154417728514. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29292658.
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Political Efficacy and Participation of Nurse PractitionersO'Rourke, Nancy C.; Crawford, Sybil L.; Morris, Nancy S.; Pulcini, Joyce (2017-01-01)Twenty-eight states have laws and regulations limiting the ability of nurse practitioners (NPs) to practice to the full extent of their education and training, thereby preventing patients from fully accessing NP services. Revisions to state laws and regulations require NPs to engage in the political process. Understanding the political engagement of NPs may facilitate the efforts of nurse leaders and nursing organizations to promote change in state rules and regulations. The purpose of this study was to describe the political efficacy and political participation of U.S. NPs and gain insight into factors associated with political interest and engagement. In the fall of 2015, we mailed a survey to 2,020 NPs randomly chosen from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners' database and 632 responded (31% response rate). Participants completed the Trust in Government (external political efficacy) and the Political Efficacy (internal political efficacy) scales, and a demographic form. Overall, NPs have low political efficacy. Older age ( p < /=.001), health policy mentoring ( p < /=.001), and specific education on health policy ( p < /=.001) were all positively associated with internal political efficacy and political participation. External political efficacy was not significantly associated with any of the study variables. Political activities of NPs are largely limited to voting and contacting legislators. Identifying factors that engage NPs in grassroots political activities and the broader political arena is warranted, particularly with current initiatives to make changes to state laws and regulations that limit their practice.