Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Autonomy in occupational health nursing: An application of Abbott's Theory of Professions
by Thompson, Margaret Croft, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2008, 169; 3317625
Abstract (Summary)

The study used both structural and individual levels of analysis, guided by the concepts of Abbott's System of Professions, to examine the elements, processes and products of jurisdictional competition between occupational health nurses (OHNs) and occupational health physicians in the United States during the latter part of the twentieth century. The study methodology utilized a two phased approach.

Phase one consisted of a structured review of published materials addressing or generated by occupational health professions and their professional institutions focusing on materials relative to the outcomes of jurisdictional competition and to autonomy for occupational health nurses. This review found that recent changes affecting jurisdictional competition between physicians and nurses have resulted in increased autonomy for nurses, particularly for occupational health nurses.

Phase two of the study consisted of quantitative analysis of data from the 2004 National Sample of Registered Nurses (NSSRN) which tested the supposition that differences in outcomes of physician-nurse jurisdictional competition would be reflected in differences in characteristics related to autonomy. The findings provided only partial support for the prediction that nurses employed in occupational health settings would exhibit more characteristics of autonomy and report higher levels of job satisfaction than nurses employed in other settings. OHNs were significantly more likely to have characteristics indicative of autonomy than hospital nurses but less likely to have some indicators when compared to community-public health nurses and school health nurses. Similarly, while OHNs reported significantly higher levels of job satisfaction than hospital nurses, school health nurses and community-public health nurses reported levels generally not significantly different from OHNs.

The study also explored the link between autonomy and job satisfaction in nurses employed in occupational health settings compared to hospital nurses. Findings from this analysis indicated that autonomy functions similarly as a source of job satisfaction for occupational health nurses as it does for nurses in hospital settings. The absence of a direct robust measure of autonomy limits broad interpretation of the findings.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lennon, Mary Clare, Kirchner, Corinne
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 69/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Occupational safety, Nursing
Keywords: Autonomy, Job satisfaction, Occupational health nursing
Publication Number: 3317625
ISBN: 978-0-549-65845-0
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