Political Participation Among Louisiana Advanced Practice Nurses

Political Participation Among Louisiana Advanced Practice Nurses

Author: 
Vicky Jo Moran
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
Advanced practice nurses (APRNs) have a unique understanding of health care needs because of their daily work serving patients and families. This level of understanding is crucial to finding workable solutions for health care reform; yet, nurse involvement and influence in policymaking seems low. Political participation beliefs and behaviors among APRNs are not well known and predictors of their participation level lack quantitative investigation. This correlational study sought to describe the political participation level among APRNs and determine what factors best predict their level of involvement in professional and policy processes. Participants were 170 Louisiana APRNs who submitted responses to an online survey framed by the civic voluntarism model to assess beliefs and behaviors toward political participation in government, community, and professional life. Results indicated that APRNs are significantly politically active (p < .001); significant predictors of participation were increased age (β = .153, p < .05), resources (β = .253, p < .01), and engagement (β = .392, p < .001). Variables from the civic voluntarism model moderately predicted participation accounting for nearly 40% (R2 adjusted = .394) of participation level variability. Thus, APRN educators, nurse leaders, and policy makers seeking to increase political participation should solicit input of older APRNs, who are more politically active and have greater resources and more engagement with public policymaking. Additionally, nurse organizations might benefit by professional management assessments to determine why APRNs who are highly engaged with professional matters, choose to direct their political participation efforts to non-nurse organizations.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this work to the memory of Joyce W. Kelly, CRNA, EdD, a visionary leader, and champion for advancing nurse anesthesia education and practice. She was my teacher, mentor, and friend. She inspired and challenged me to go beyond what I thought I could do. Without her example, support, and encouragement, I would most certainly not be where I am today.
Acknowledgements: 
The completion of this project has consumed most of my attention and energy for over two years and despite the fact that I gave it my all, I could not have completed it without the help of giving and supportive people in my professional and personal life. To my early mentor Dr. Jo Brooke, thank you for hours of conversation and a multitude of email, critique, and review that helped me to formulate the early phases of this research. To Dr. Rosati who has stuck with me from beginning to end, thank you for your steadfast support and positive encouragement that I could do this. When I sometimes felt I might not make it, I remembered your words that I am a nurse, so of course I can do this. To Dr. Lehrman, thank you for your willingness to step in and make the committee complete, and for challenging me to get important wording absolutely correct because it made a big difference. To Dr. Trent, I appreciate so much your taking interest in my work, providing guidance, and making it possible for me to complete the final stages of this process. To all the APRNs who shared their opinions and willingly participated in this study, your support made me understand that I am a part of a much greater community beyond what I had previously imagined. You are awesome, and I am privileged to belong. To Irvin, for the full two years I labored over this project, you were always there when I needed someone to listen and review my work. You are gifted at asking the right questions that helped me think critically about the important things. I am lucky to have such a wise and patient friend and I appreciate your support so much. Moreover, to my children Juan and Stephanie, thank you for accepting my absences and always making me feel loved and supported. Thank you for the million little things you did to make working on this project easier, and for giving meaning to my life. Truly, it took a family to raise this doctor – thank you.