Graduate School of Nursing Dissertations

Publication Date


Document Type

Dissertation, Doctoral


Graduate School of Nursing

Dissertation Committee Chair

Nancy Morris


health policy, nurse practitioners, political efficacy, political participation, Politics

Subject Categories

Health Policy | Nursing | Political Science | Public Policy


In many states, outdated rules and regulations restrict nurse practitioners (NPs) from practicing to their full potential, often limiting patients’ access to primary care.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.


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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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.