Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing

First Advisor

Patricia Underwood

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Frank

Third Advisor

Gayla D. Jewell


As the role of the nurse practitioner (NP) continues to evolve, ambiguity in the scope of practice remains. This study described perceptions of the nurse practitioner role. This descriptive three group comparative study asked random samples of registered nurses (n = 51) and physicians (n = 46), and a convenience sample of 34 NPs to indicate their agreement with the appropriateness of 30 behaviors for the NP role. The modification of Hupcey's (1994) instrument had an alpha reliability of.97. A Kruskal-Wallis test revealed significant differences (p = {dollar}<{dollar}.001) among the three occupations for every behavior. The largest difference was found relative to defining the role/scope of nurse practitioner practice (X{dollar}\sp2{dollar} = 59.21, df = 2, p =.00). Knowing an NP was found to be a variable with some influence on the responses whereas interest in becoming or hiring an NP did not in most cases. Most physicians (53.3%) and 32% of RNs indicated that nurse practitioners should work under direct supervision only. Seventy three percent of nurse practitioners felt that a collaborative relationship was the best option.


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