Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing

First Advisor

Linda Bond

Second Advisor

Gayla Jewell

Third Advisor

Frances McCrea


This is a descriptive correlational study to determine the prevalence of types of self-diagnosing and self-treatment (SD/ST) behavior in registered nurses and how this may influence their use of a primary care provider. It is modeled after a study of this behavior in physicians by Cockerham, Creditor, Creditor, & Imrey (1980). Multiple choice SD/ST responses were made to 13 acute, self-limiting symptom scenarios by a random sample of registered nurse (n = 101). The response choices were grouped as; (1) non-physician dependent (NPD), e.g. treat symptoms with over-the-counter drugs, (2) traditional physician-dependent (TPD): sought care of regular primary care provider, and (3) non-traditional physician-dependent (NTPD), e.g. sought advice or prescription from a physician co-worker. This study explored the relationships between the SD/ST behaviors of registered nurses and levels of nursing education, years of nursing experience, practice role, and practice setting. The length of time since their last visit with their primary care provider was also correlated to the type of self-care they practiced.; Findings suggest that nurses with the lowest levels of education are most likely to choose NTPD. No statistically significant relationships were found with any other demographics. Also of interest, 94% of the sample had visited their provider within the past 2 years. Implications for nursing practice are also presented.


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