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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Role expansion : from speculation to verification MacDonald, Sharon Alice


The concept of role expansion is presently a major nursing issue. Over the past decade, one of the basic problems with incorporating this concept into nursing practice has been defining the term expanded role. Many contemporary nursing authors have written about this problem and expressed a need for the concept to be clearly defined. This study was an attempt to explore the concept 'expanded role' of the nurse by surveying nurses working in psychiatric settings. Two groups participated in the study; half from a community setting and half from a hospital setting, A questionnaire was developed, by the author, to obtain data regarding specific variables that were thought to be inherent in, or strong indicators of, role expansion in nursing. The questionnaire consisted of 25 items and was distributed to a total sample of 64 nurses (32 working in community and 32 employed by a hospital). It was found that 51 of the 64 nurses viewed their role to be expanded. In general, community employed nurses were older, more experienced and more highly educated than hospital nurses. A broad fundamental definition was verified by data analyses. Although the literature suggests that graduate level education is necessary to function in an expanded role, this was not the case in this study as only 10 nurses had masters degrees.

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