Autonomy in Practice

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When the nurse practitioner (NP) role was first described in the early 1960s it was clear that important dimensions had been added to the role of the nurse. One of these dimensions was the increased professional autonomy. As the NP role continued to evolve, autonomy became a characterizing feature of the role.

The purpose of this paper is to present basic assumptions concerning automony and its relationship to the definition of profession; to examine the implications of autonomy to the individual NP, to the nursing profession, and to the health care system; and to offer a model for considering professional autonomy in relation to the NP role.

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