Registered Nurses' Perceptions of Nursing

Peter I. Buerhaus; Karen Donelan; Beth T. Ulrich; Leslie Kirby; Linda Norman; Robert Dittus

Disclosures

Nurs Econ. 2005;23(3):110-118. 

In This Article

Data, Methods, and Sample Characteristics

As described in greater detail in Part 1 of this series (Buerhaus et al., 2005a), data for this study came from two national random surveys of RNs. Briefly, the first survey was funded by NurseWeek and the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) and was designed to learn more about the nursing shortage from the perspective of nurses. The survey was conducted in late 2001 and early 2002 among a nationally representative sample of 7,600 RNs who were randomly selected from a list of all RNs licensed to practice in the United States. A total of 4,108 RNs completed the survey for a response rate of 55%.

The second national random survey of RNs was funded by Johnson & Johnson and Nursing Spectrum (the latter had acquired NurseWeek). The survey contained many of the same questions used in the earlier NurseWeek/AONE questionnaire, but also included several different questions aimed at exploring new areas and probing certain aspects of the workplace environment in greater depth. The survey was conducted in early 2004 among a nationally representative sample of 3,000 RNs who were randomly selected from a list of all RNs licensed to practice in the United States. A total of 1,697 RNs completed the survey for a response rate of 53%. Harris Interactive was employed to conduct both surveys, and obtaining and analyzing de-identified data from both surveys was approved by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Institutional Review Board. SPSS version 11.5 (SPSS, Chicago, IL) was used to analyze the data and calculate descriptive statistics, t tests for differences in proportions, and multiple regression analysis.

In both samples among all respondents, most RNs were white and women, and the majority were married and work in hospitals located in urban and suburban areas. Seventy percent or more of RNs in both surveys perceived their health as excellent or very good. In 2004, similar percentages reported an associate (32%) and baccalaureate degree (36%) as the highest nursing degree received, 13% reported a diploma certificate as their highest nursing education, and 7% had earned a graduate degree. The average hourly wage in 2004 was $26.80, the mean number of hours worked per week was 37.1, and overtime hours averaged 3.9 hours per week.

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