Professional Nursing Values: A Comparison of Populations

Tuesday, 31 October 2017: 8:00 AM

Taralyn W. McMullan, DNP
College of Nursing, Maternal-Child Department, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, USA
Jaclyn A. Bunch, PhD
Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice/MPA Health Track, University of South Alabama, MOBILE, AL, USA


Nursing is considered as a professional discipline because of the direct focus on health care delivery services as a practice and function of nursing (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). Health care delivery among nurses and students can be highly influenced by education, experiences, internal values clarification among many other variables. As a trusted profession, nurses and patients should demonstrate congruency among these values in order to meet health care standards, patient expectations and maximizing outcomes on an individual and system wide basis (Foreman, 2014). Professional codes and standards, such as the Nurses Professional Values Scale-Revised provides an overview of expectations a nurse possesses and allows for the nurse or student to recognize the value of that standard. However, others may not realize the foundational level of which these codes or standards have been set by professional organizations, such as: Joint Commission and the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). Additionally, employers are held to high level of accountability to ensure environments reflect competent practice. The overall responsibility rests on the following: (a) profession, (b) individual nurses, (c) professional organizations, (d) credentialing and certification entities, (e) regulatory agencies, (f) employers and other identified stakeholders (American Nurses Association, 2016). Therefore, understanding the value the general community or potential patients and family members place on these same values allows for a richer understanding of the gaps in knowledge and ways to improve practice and curriculum development.


The focus of this research was to determine the level of congruency among nursing students and the community on the recognition of professional values using the Nurses Professional Values Scale-Revised. Additional survey questions focused on health care policy and demographics to gain a better understanding of the similarities and differences among participants. While other research has integrated this same tool, none to date in our search has compared this information to the general public and in coordination with additional health care policy questions.

Data Collection and Results

Utilizing both factor analysis and a series of regression diagnostics, we explored the determinants of health care values across both the nursing student population and the population at large. We include a series of demographic controls to determine if there is something unique to nursing education in predicting anticipated, and often times desired, nursing values. We found that across most measures, nursing students mapped on to the population they served, and reported similar levels of concern/importance for various nursing values. Where differences did emerge it was discovered that age, income, and gender tend to be driving forces in predicting the divergent opinions of the general population and nursing student population regarding privacy and lifestyle choices. Most strikingly we found that nursing student substantially differentiate from the population they serve for issues regarding culture and equity, with registration in a nursing program as a strong and statistically significant predictor of increased importance even when controlling for demographics such as age, race, income, and party ID.

Implications to Nursing

 The implications of this study will allow nurses, students, faculty, employers and consumers of health care to change the way curriculum is developed and taught both academically and clinically. Furthermore, health care facilities will have more insight on factors influencing health care outcomes, patient satisfaction and nursing values. Since the responsibility lies with all stakeholders associated with nursing the impact on nursing and health care outcomes are far reaching and must be tackled now to build a brighter tomorrow for patients and delivery of care.