Date of Award

11-2021

Document Type

DNP Project

College

School of Nursing

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Jochebed Bea Ade-Oshifogun

Second Advisor

Kelly Davis

Abstract

Background

Physician groups claim allowing nurses to use the title "doctor" confuses patients. Nurses assert that the title is common to many disciplines, and nurses should be trusted like other professionals to identify their specialty to patients. Currently, qualified nurses in Illinois using the title "doctor" in clinical areas must introduce themselves to each patient in the following way: "Hi, I'm Dr. Smith, the nurse practitioner taking care of you today. I do not have a degree in medicine, and I am not a physician or medical doctor” (225 ILCS § 65/65-50).

Purpose

This project aimed to evaluate Illinois Nurse Practice Act APRN title section 65/65-50 (c) compared with a policy alternative requiring nurses to clarify their specialty when using the title “doctor” in clinical settings.

Method

After receiving institutional review board approval, I conducted an online survey. A descriptive, cross-sectional, nonexperimental study design was used to explore the perceptions of 476 Illinois residents who had been treated by a DNP APRN for healthcare. Survey feedback was used to evaluate the Illinois APRN title policy using the criteria of efficiency, equity, and sustainability. This project was guided by Kingdon's Multiple System Framework and Policymaking Theory.

Results

Most respondents (66%) were able to identify the role of the nurse practitioner correctly after the introduction required by the Illinois Nurse Practice Act ("Hi, I'm Dr. Smith, the nurse practitioner taking care of you today. I do not have a degree in medicine, and I am not a physician or medical doctor.") Most respondents (66%) were also able to identify the role of the nurse practitioner correctly after an alternative patient introduction (Hi, I'm Dr. Smith the nurse practitioner taking care of you today.) The survey results suggest the patient introduction required by the Illinois Nurse Practice Act has a more negative impact on the perception of the nurse practitioner. Most respondents (74%) preferred the alternative introduction without the language required in the Illinois Nurse Practice Act. The project evaluation suggests that the Illinois APRN title policy may be inefficient due to the negative impact it may have on the perception of the DNP APRNs, because it may be both more burdensome than other title policies for similar providers and unsustainable due to lack of support.

Conclusion

Illinois DNP APRNs patient introductions may not have the intended impact of reducing role confusion between nurses and physicians and may negatively impact patients' perceptions of the nurse. These findings underscore the value in re-evaluating the introduction of the DNP APRN in the Nurse Practice Act.

Subject Area

Nursing; Illinois Nurse Practice Act; Nurse practitioners; Nursing--Practice

Included in

Nursing Commons

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