Factors Associated With Full Implementation of Scope of Practice

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Abstract

Purpose:

To describe whether nurses fully implement their scope of practice; nurses' perceptions of future practice implementation; and the association between scope of practice implementation with professional autonomy and self-efficacy.

Design:

A descriptive correlational study was conducted using a convenience sample of 145 registered nurses with post-basic certification from two Israeli university hospitals, from May 2012 to September 2013.

Methods:

Five questionnaires were distributed: (a) Demographic and Work Characteristics, (b) Implementation of Scope of Practice, (c) Attitudes Towards Future Practice, (d) Practice Behavior Scale, and (e) Practice Self-Efficacy. Descriptive statistics for all demographic and questionnaire data were analyzed. Two regression models were developed, where current and future implementations were the criterion variables and demographic and work characteristics, professional autonomy, and self-efficacy were the predictors.

Findings:

High levels of professional autonomy, self-efficacy, and attitudes towards future practice were found in contrast to low or moderate levels of current implementation of the full extent of scope of practice. Primary reasons associated with low implementation were lack of relevance to practice and permission to perform the practice. Significant associations were found between professional autonomy, self-efficacy, and attitudes towards future practice, but not with current implementation.

Conclusions:

Nurses wanted to practice to the full extent of their scope of practice and felt able to do so but were hindered by administrative and not personal barriers.

Clinical Relevance:

Even though staff nurses with post-basic certification had high levels of professional autonomy and self-efficacy, many were not implementing the full extent of their scope of practice. Similar to findings from around the world, external factors, such as administrative and policy barriers, were found to thwart the full implementation of nurses' full scope of practice. Therefore, practicing nurses should be aware of these barriers and work towards reducing them.

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