Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Daniel C. Robinson


Two hundred eighty-two female RNs from Iowa responded to a mailed questionnaire two years after graduating from: (a) diploma nursing programs; (b) associate degree nursing (ADN) programs; or (c) baccalaureate nursing programs for RN students who had previously graduated from ADN and diploma nursing programs (BSN-RN). Professional role was measured by Stone's (1979) Health Care Professional Attitude Inventory as modified for nurses by Lawler (1988). In addition, a variety of socialization factors were measured. Professional role was found to be associated with socialization factors of age, nursing education, academic achievement, practice setting, and some professional development activities (p. <.05). Nurses with higher professional role scores were more likely to be older, BSN-RN program graduates, with high grade point averages, who practiced in nonhospital settings, and who maintained current professional values and practice standards by reading nursing journals and enrolling in formal academic programs. Professional role was not associated with socioeconomic background, nursing position, perceived influence of reference groups, or the following professional development activities; enrollment in individual courses, membership in American Nurses' Association, and membership in other professional organizations. Based on these results, a preliminary professional nurse role model was proposed which reflects the following thesis. The professional role of the registered nurse is associated with many socialization factors. One socialization factor is participation in ongoing professional development activities. These professional development activities include reading professional nursing journals and enrolling in higher education programs. Age is a variable that interrelates with other socialization factors and also relates to professional role directly. For the older motivated registered nurse, factors that promote autonomy, personal accountability, and independent nursing judgements lead to socialization into the professional role. These factors include practice setting and academic achievement. Nurses come from diverse social backgrounds; their socioeconomic status is not associated with other professional role socialization factors. This model proposes that education is the key variable which links these other socialization factors as well as associating directly with professional role. Successful completion of a baccalaureate nursing program provides the foundation for the other socialization factors leading to internalization and enactment of the professional role for registered nurses.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sharon Monley Hillery



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

200 pages