Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

JoAnne K. Henry


The purpose of this study was to determine: 1) the perceptions of nurse practitioners toward private practice and professional autonomy, and 2) nurse practitioners' behavioral intent towards private practice and professional autonomy. Data were collected with a questionnaire designed by the researcher to measure demographic data, nurse practitioners' perceptions and behavioral intent toward private practice and professional autonomy, and knowledge of legal issues pertaining' to private practice. Of 153 possible respondents, 100 (64%) nurse practitioners in the State of Maryland participated in the study.

Data were presented descriptively by number and percentage. The typical nurse practitioner was 31 to 40 years of age, attended a certificate program as an adult nurse practitioner, had a Master's Degree, worked full-time in a combination in-patient/out-patient setting, and has been practicing for more then six years. Four nurse practitioners were in private practice. Results showed that almost all nurse practitioners' surveyed (97%) perceived private practice as appropriate, but most (83%) did not plan to work in that capacity during the next five years. Nurse practitioners' knowledge of legal issues (third party reimbursement, prescription writing privileges, and legality of owning and operating a private practice) were low with an average score of 55 percent. The autonomy section revealed that 1) nurse practitioners believed that nurse practitioner programs should teach and encourage private practice; and 2) that nurse practitioners are willing to make independent decisions and accept responsibility for them, but they were also inclined to accept limits established by the medical community.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


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Nursing Commons