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Staff nurses’ attitudes toward power Groves, Mona Mary

Abstract

This descriptive study was designed to explore and describe attitudes of staff nurses toward the meaning of power as measured by the Power Orientation Scale (Goldberg, Cavanaugh, & Larson, 1983). The purpose was to provide empirical descriptive data on nurses' attitudes to facilitate clarification of the issue of power versus powerlessness and to promote a clearer understanding of the concept of power in relation to professional nursing practice. Data were collected by means of a mail survey. The sample consisted of112 randomly selected registered nurses employed as staff nurses in acute care hospital settings in British Columbia. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. According to the findings, staff nurses value power as a positive force, desirable and essential to nursing practice; recognize power as essential for the possession and control of resources, reflecting insight into the value of resources; support the need to be skilled in the political process; reflect an awareness of the potential for power to elicit emotional responses in others; and support belief in power as a means of establishing control while maintaining personal independence and autonomy. There was no evidence to support an association between nurse characteristics, personal or professional, and attitudes toward power. Implications for nurses and the nursing profession are discussed and recommendations for further study are presented.

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