Political Efficacy and Participation of Nurse Practitioners

Publication Date


UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Nursing; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Document Type



Health and Medical Administration | Health Policy | Health Services Administration | Nursing | Political Science


Twenty-eight states have laws and regulations limiting the ability of nurse practitioners (NPs) to practice to the full extent of their education and training, thereby preventing patients from fully accessing NP services. Revisions to state laws and regulations require NPs to engage in the political process. Understanding the political engagement of NPs may facilitate the efforts of nurse leaders and nursing organizations to promote change in state rules and regulations. The purpose of this study was to describe the political efficacy and political participation of U.S. NPs and gain insight into factors associated with political interest and engagement. In the fall of 2015, we mailed a survey to 2,020 NPs randomly chosen from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners' database and 632 responded (31% response rate). Participants completed the Trust in Government (external political efficacy) and the Political Efficacy (internal political efficacy) scales, and a demographic form. Overall, NPs have low political efficacy. Older age ( p < /=.001), health policy mentoring ( p < /=.001), and specific education on health policy ( p < /=.001) were all positively associated with internal political efficacy and political participation. External political efficacy was not significantly associated with any of the study variables. Political activities of NPs are largely limited to voting and contacting legislators. Identifying factors that engage NPs in grassroots political activities and the broader political arena is warranted, particularly with current initiatives to make changes to state laws and regulations that limit their practice.


health policy, nurse practitioners, political efficacy, political participation

DOI of Published Version



Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2017 Jan 1:1527154417728514. doi: 10.1177/1527154417728514. [Epub ahead of print]. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Policy, politics and nursing practice


Nancy C. O'Rourke undertook this study as a doctoral student (view her dissertation) in the Graduate School of Nursing at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID