Group Title: professional socialization of nursing students
Title: The Professional socialization of nursing students
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 Material Information
Title: The Professional socialization of nursing students a comparison based on types of educational programs
Physical Description: ix, 93 leaves; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Lynn, Mary Ruth, 1950-
Publication Date: 1979
Copyright Date: 1979
Subject: Nursing students -- United States   ( lcsh )
Nursing -- Study and teaching -- United States   ( lcsh )
Professional socialization   ( lcsh )
Foundations of Education thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Foundations of Education -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 86-91.
Statement of Responsibility: by Mary Ruth Lynn.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098841
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000096146
oclc - 06392863
notis - AAL1578


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Copyright 1979


Mary Ruth Lynn


The members of my doctoral committee deserve special

recognition for their assistance with this dissertation.

The chairman of my committee, Dr. Linda M. Crocker, has

my deepest admiration and gratitude for her excellent

guidance, teaching, and patience. Dr. Robert S. Soar has

also been influential during my graduate study. I appre-

ciate his sound advice and calm attitude. My sincere

appreciation goes to Dr. Molly C. Dougherty for her con-

stant support, understanding, and willingness to listen.

Dr. Faye G. Harris has always provided a willing ear

and constant moral support and for those I thank her. In

addition, I would like to extend my gratitude to the deans,

directors, and students of the schools participating in

this study.

Finally, I would like to thank my friends Barbara Boss,

Dr. Patricia D. Olmsted, and Nancy Sypert, for their prodding

and support which aided me in the completion of this study.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. . . . . . . . .. iii

LIST OF TABLES. . . . . . . . .. vi

ABSTRACT. . . . . . . . .... ... vii


I INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . 1

Definition of Terms. . . . . 5
Purpose of the Study . . . . 6
Rationale for the Study. . . .. 8
Significance of this Study . .. 10


Historical Developments in
Nursing Education . . . .. 12

The Diploma Program . . .. 12
The Baccalaureate Program . . 15
The Associate Degree Program. . 17
Controversies in Nursing
Education. . . . . .. 20

Comparisons of the Three Educational
Programs in Nursing . . ... 25

Biographical and Cognitive
Variables. . . . . . 25
Affective and Personality
Variables. . . . . .. 29
Professional Socialization
Studies. . . . . ... 30



Measures of Professional
Socialization . . . . .. 33
Summary. . . . . . . .. 38


The Hypotheses . . . . .. 40
Subjects . . . . . . 42
Instrument . . . . . ... 44
Development of the Traditional/
Nontraditional Scoring Key. ... . 48
Development of the Practicing
Nurses Scoring Key. . . . .. 50
The Analysis of the Data . . .. 55
Summary. . . . . . . .. 55

IV RESULTS . . . . . . ... 57

Hypotheses Testing . . .
Effects on Reliability . .
Summary of the Results . .

V DISCUSSION. . . . . . .

Scoring Method. . . . .
Practicing Nurses Scoring Method
Limitations of the Study . ..
Suggestions for Future Research.
Applications in Nursing Education.
Summary and Conclusions. . . .


REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . .





1 Number of Students Participating
by Program . . . . . . . .


2 Percentage of Participants in Each Pro-
gram by Sex and Race Categories. ... . 46

3 HSGPA by Program . . . . . .. 47

4 Participating Nurses by Age, Year
Licensed to Practice Nursing, and
Years Not Practiced Nursing. . . .

5 Participating Nurses by Sex, Race,
Area Employed, First Nursing Degree,
and Highest Educational Degree . .

6 Means and Standard Deviations of
Students Total Scores by Programs
and HSGPA Using the Traditional/
Nontraditional Scoring Method. . .

. 52

. 53

. 59

7 Analysis of Total NPOS Score Computed
with the Traditional/Nontraditional
Scoring Method as a Function of Program
Type, HSGPA, and the Interaction
Between Program and HSGPA. . . . .

8 Means and Standard Deviations of
Students Total Scores by Programs
and HSGPA Using the Practing Nurses
Scoring Method . . . . . . .

9 Analysis of Total NPOS Score Computed
with the Practicing Nurses Scoring Method
as a Function of Program Type, HSGPA and
the Interaction Between Program and High
School Grade Point Average . . . .

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy



Mary Ruth Lynn

August 1979

Chairman: Linda Crocker
Major Department: Foundations of Education

The assessment and development of professional

socialization in nursing students has been a concern for

many years. Several studies have been conducted in this

area but few quality instruments have been developed with

uses specific to nursing. The Nurses Professional Orienta-

tion Scale (NPOS) was an exception in that it was appro-

priately designed and was developed to be used in the

assessment of professional socialization of nursing


In this study two new scoring methods, a Traditional/

Nontraditional scale and a Practicing Nurses scale were

developed for the NPOS. The internal consistencies for

these methods were .81 and .88, respectively. Each method

was then used to determine if students from different


nursing curricula would differ in responses to the NPOS.

Graduating associate degree and baccalaureate degree stu-

dents in four southeastern states served as subjects for

the comparisons. The sample sizes for the associate degree

and the baccalaureate degree students were 120 and 156,


A 2 X 3 factorial design (two program levels and three

grade point levels) was used to compare the total NPOS

scores of the students from the two programs. Because

admission criteria differ for these programs, high school

grade point average was included in each analysis. Both

main effects and interactions were tested using a classical

regression analysis. Separate analysis were conducted for

each scoring method.

Using the Traditional/Nontraditional scoring method,

significant main effects were found for both educational pro-

gram and high school grade point average. These results indi-

cated that associate degree students ware more traditional in

their professional socialization than were the baccalaureate

degree students. When the Scheffe's post hoc procedure was

employed it was concluded that students with a B high school

grade point average evidenced a more traditional orientation

than did students with other high school grade point averages.


When the Practicing Nurses scoring method was used

to score the NPOS, no significant main effect for educa-

tional program or high school grade point average was

found. Finding no significant main effect for educational

program, it was concluded that either the Practicing Nurses

scoring method was not sufficiently sensitive to differ-

entiate students from different educational program types

or that there was truly no difference among the students

relative to practicing nurses. In addition, no significant

interaction was found between educational program and high

school grade point average in either scoring method.

This study demonstrated the potential for improving

available instrumentation in the area of professional

socialization in nursing. It was also found that students

in different educational programs in nursing can be dif-

ferentiated in terms of their professional socialization.

specifically in terms of a traditional or nontraditional

orientation. With improved instrumentation for assessing

professional socialization, research in this area can be

significantly advanced.



Professional socialization is a specific portion of

adult socialization. As a process it has been defined in

several different ways. Super (1957) suggests that pro-

fessional socialization is the process by which someone

"tries the fit" of a job. Others, including Simpson (1967),

define occupational choice and socialization into a role

as a means of acquiring self-identification. Moore (1969)

asserts that professional socialization "involves acquir-

ing requisite skills and also the sense of occupational

identity and internalization of occupational norms typical

of the fully qualified practitioner" (Moore, 1969, p. 71).

Many researchers suggest that there are phases or

steps involved in professional socialization. Three phases

that have been suggested are (1) the individual shifts his

attention from broad societal goals to the goal of pro-

ficiency in the specific tasks of his chosen profession,

(2) identifying significant others in the profession as his

reference source and (3) internalizing the values, skills,

and attitudes of the occupational group and adopting the

behaviors it prescribes (Simpson, 1967).

Professional socialization has been studied in many

of the health related professions but has received more

emphasis in medical and nursing education. Medical school

has been described as one of the longest rites of passage

in our part of the world (Becker & Geer, 1958). During the

first year of medical training, medical students think of

each other and themselves primarily as students. When

medical students have begun to see patients on the clinical

units, the transition to perceiving themselves as physicians

begins. This self image change can be seen as reflecting

the expectations of others. Patients define the medical

student as a physician so the student starts to define him-

self and behave as a physician (Huntington, 1957).

Similarly professional socialization has been explored

in nursing and nursing education. Kramer (1974) asserts

that the behavioral and attitudinal changes necessary to

nursing are usually internalized during the training period

of the nursing program. She views professional socializa-

tion in nursing as a process of both internal and external

changes in an individual which result in altered "images,

expectations, skills, and norms" (Kramer, 1974, p. 38).

Olesen and Whittaker (1968) view professional socializa-

tion in nursing as the fusion of person, situation, and

institution. It is in this fusion that they believe the

heart of professional socialization lies.

Investigations into the professional socialization of

nursing students indicate that the critical issue is the

incongruence in the socialization processes between the

nursing program and the actual nursing duties as they are

defined and implemented in the various employment settings

(Corwin, 1961; Kramer, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974).

Nursing schools and employment settings represent two

different subcultures in the nursing world. "The norms,

values and behavioral expectations are more different be-

tween school and work than they are between two different

work settings" (Kramer, 1974, p. 38). Because these sub-

cultures are so different, movement from one to the other

creates difficulties. Inadequate professional socializa-

tion has been found to result in attrition in both nursing

education and nursing practice (Williams & Williams, 1959).

Thus, it is important to examine professional socialization

in both nursing as an educational program and as an


Because there are three different educational tracks

for prospective nurses, an important question is which

program results in greater professional socialization for

its graduates? The oldest of these programs, the hospital-

based diploma school, has rarely encountered socialization

incongruencies because the training was in the apprenticeship

mode. With the movement of nursing education into univer-

sities in the early 1900's (baccalaureate program) and into

community and junior colleges in the 1950's (associate

degree program), professional socialization became a

relevant issue. No longer are the students in nursing pro-

grams receiving extensive clinical experience and exposure

to the day-to-day realities of nursing. Rather a greater

balance between classroom learning and clinical experience

was created. Therefore, due to the education changes over

the last century, the assessment and development of pro-

fessional socialization of nursing students has become

and continues to be an area of interest.

Despite the interest that has been generated in

evaluating and comparing nursing programs (within and

across educational tracks) in terms of professional sociali-

zation, at the present time the state of measurement of

professional socialization has prevented adequate investi-

gation in this area. Few instruments have been developed

that measure professional socialization in nursing, and

those that are relevant have not been used to assess the

differences or similarities in the three educational pro-

gram's graduates. Further, the developed instruments have

not been fully tested, i.e., evidence of reliability,

validity, or both has been lacking. Finally no exist-

ing instrument has a scoring scheme based on the perceptions

of practicing clinical nurses.

Definition of Terms

For the purpose of this study, the following defini-

tions were used:

Associate Degree Program. Completion requires two

years in time and is based in a community or junior college

and occasionally in the lower division of a senior college

or university. The associate degree programs are generally

affiliated with local hospitals or health care agencies.

Graduates are licensed as registered nurses upon passing

licensing examinations and have either an Associate of

Arts (AA) or Associate of Sciences (AS) degrees.

Baccalaureate Degree Program. Contained within a

four-year college or university, this program combines a

liberal arts background with the nursing curriculum. The

actual time spent in nursing education ranges from two to

five years. The university or college grants a Bachelor

of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science degree to

its graduates. Upon passing licensure examinations the

baccalaureate graduate is titled a registered nurse.

Diploma Program. Three years of study are required

for completion. The school of nursing is generally under

the control of a hospital. Each school has its own faculty,

but many of the schools are affiliated with a senior or

junior college or university for physical science, and

some social science courses. After graduating and passing

the state board licensing exam the graduate is titled a

registered nurse.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to develop and test two

new scoring methods for a prominent instrument, the Nurses

Professional Orientation Scale (NPOS), used in the measure-

ment of professional socialization. First, a scoring

method based on a traditional/non-traditional view of

nursing was developed and employed in an effort to differ-

entiate graduates of different educational programs.

Second, a scoring method based on the perceptions of

practicing nurses was developed to assess the socializa-

tion of graduates from different educational programs.

Finally, the reliabilities yielded from the new scoring

methods were compared.

In view of the fact that the programs to be investi-

gated were located in junior colleges and senior colleges

and universities, the differences in admission criteria had

to be considered. Accordingly, the high school grade point

average (HSGPA) of each student was collected for inclusion

in the analysis. Thus, variation in the scores on the

NPOS related to differences in high school achievement

could be systematically controlled. The possibility of

an interaction between high school grades and nursing

education programs was also tested. The purpose of con-

trolling these factors was to increase the power of the

analysis, increasing the likelihood of finding any true

significant differences which might exist between the two

types of educational programs.

Rationale for the Study

The scoring methods for the NPOS have been developed

for three reasons. Although this instrument is widely

used, its original scoring scheme suffered from several

limitations. First, the original scoring method was based

on baccalaureate degree faculty responses nine years ago.

With the changes in the attitudes of women in the last few

years, a scoring method formed nine years ago is unlikely

to reflect the current feelings of a predominantly female

profession. Second, the Traditional/Nontraditional method

has been developed to ascertain if the associate degree and

baccalaureate degree programs in fact are at different

points on a traditional vs. nontraditional continuum.

Nursing educators and nurses in general have long argued

that certain types of programs produce graduates who are

more or less traditional than the graduates of other types

of programs. Additionally, some researchers have reported

that a traditional orientation is the opposite of pro-

fessional socialization (Eller, 1976; Richards, 1972).

Finally, the practicing nurses method has been derived for

two reasons: (1) there has been no scoring scheme de-

veloped for an instrument which utilized the beliefs of

practicing nurses, and (2) graduates entering nursing with

beliefs unlike those of currently practicing nurses have

experienced a reality shock which has created great job

dissatisfaction (Kramer, 1974). Therefore, the ability to

establish which students would be more likely to have an

experience of "reality shock" would provide an aid in the

decrease of attrition from nursing practice.

In this study the professional orientation (sociali-

zation) of senior associate degree nursing students is

compared to the professional orientation (socialization)

of senior baccalaureate degree nursing students. Diploma

students are not included in the study for two reasons:

(1) The number of diploma programs both nationwide and

in the selected region has decreased markedly over the

past fifteen years (less than half the programs open in

1960 remain open today), and (2) the tremendous growth of

the junior college programs (associate degree) both nation-

wide and in the selected region has diminished the impact

of diploma education for nurses.

Significance of this Study

As previously mentioned, when socialization is con-

gruent between nursing educational programs and the em-

ployment setting fewer difficulties for an individual

moving from one to the other are encountered. Much re-

search has been done investigating the effects of incon-

gruent socialization. This inadequate socialization has

been shown to produce role deprivation. Role deprivation

(role conflict), i.e., the discrepancy between what a nurse

thinks should happen and what she perceives is going on

around her (Kramer, 1970),has been found to cause attrition

in both nursing educational programs and in nursing practice

(Hegarty, 1975; Schmitt, 1968; Williams & Williams, 1959).

The investigation of the professional socialization of

graduates of the associate and baccalaureate degree pro-

grams may yield information that would be helpful in the

assessment and decrease of role deprivation, and conse-

quently attrition from the profession.

The need to study graduates of different educational

programs, specifically the associate and baccalaureate

degree programs is twofold. First, graduates of these pro-

grams have been compared on the basis of many variables

and have not been found to be essentially different. Pro-

fessional socialization has rarely been investigated using

more than one program type. Second, the American Nurses

Association has recommended that there should be two types

of nurses prepared in the United States, technical (asso-

ciate degree) and professional (baccalaureate degree)

(American Nurses Association, 1965). These two educational

programs have been ill defined or differentiated at this

time, and comparisons of the professional socialization of

their students could yield valuable information. This

information would be valuable for future efforts in cur-

riculum development, program evaluation, or research in

professional socialization as a social process.



The literature reviewed in this chapter has been

selected from three areas: historical development of the

nursing educational programs, comparisons of the three

nursing educational programs and measures of professional

socialization in nursing. The review is organized in the

following manner. First, selected literature is presented

pertinent to the historical development of nursing educa-

tional programs. Next, studies comparing graduates of the

three educational programs are discussed. Finally, measures

or professional socialization in nursing are reviewed with

emphasis on those studies in which the NPOS was used.

Historical Developments in
Nursing Education

The Diploma Program

Formal nursing education began in the United States

in 1872 with the establishment of the first hospital-based

school of nursing (diploma program) in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

The program resembled the Nightingale School of England

in that the course was twelve months in length equally

divided into medical nursing, surgical nursing, maternity

nursing, and night nursing (Dietz & Lehozky, 1967).

Numerous other schools modeled after the Nightingale

School soon developed. Each school was independent of

the hospital,having its own administration as well as bud-

get. In 1874 schools began to contract with the hospitals

so that student nurses could receive actual patient care

experiences. These contracts gave the students patient

care experiences in exchange for their providing the hos-

pital with nursing services. The hospitals realized an

increase in nursing services and therefore incorporated

the faculty of the schools under their budget and adminis-

tration (Dolan, 1973). Diploma schools have continued in

this mode.

During the period from 1872 to 1910, both the length

of the diploma program and the number of programs increased.

The duration of the educational Deriod went from the

initial one year of training to two years and then finally

to three years, which is the present length of the diploma

programs. Diploma schools' students helped to provide

staff for the hospitals in which they had their clinical

experiences. This was financially beneficial to the

hospitals as it decreased their expenditures for nursing

care. Therefore, many hospitals attempted to have nursing

schools. In 1880 there were fifteen diploma programs.

By 1910 over one thousand programs had been established

(Bridgman, 1966).

A milestone in nursing education occurred in the early

1920's when Josephine Goldmark was commissioned to study

the function and preparation of the public health nurse.

Although the study was initially directed towards the

problems of public health education for nurses, it was

soon found to be relevant to the whole of nursing educa-

tion. This report revealed that "most nursing schools

were shockingly inadequate in providing laboratories,

libraries, demonstration rooms, instructors, and head

nurses"; therefore, the nursing schools did not conform

to standards accepted in other educational institutions

(Dietz & Lehozky, 1967; Lysaught, 1970). Goldmark

recommended that

The current tendency to lower require-
ments should be discontinued and efforts
made to raise the general standards of
nursing education to the level of the best
schools. Instructors and other officers
of schools of nursing should receive special

training to fit them for their tasks.
The development of university associa-
tions with schools of nursing should be
strengthened, and schools should be given
adequate financial backing. (Griffin &
Griffin, 1973, p. 134)

Because the hospital-based diploma programs were in

the midst of a "boom," the recommendations of the Goldmark

report were not accepted or implemented. The report did,

however, stimulate the development of some university

programs and further encourage the move of nursing educa-

tion into the academic environment.

The Baccalaureate Program

In the early 1900's several nursing leaders wished

to place education for nurses into the academic environ-

ment and remove control of nursing education from the

hospital's administration. In 1909 the first independent

school of nursing was established at The University of

Minnesota. Though several collegiate programs had been

established prior to 1909, they were all under the control

of medical schools (Davis, Olesen & Whittaker, 1966).

Acceptance of collegiate nursing education was certainly

not immediate. Both the public and most nursing educators

felt that the already established diploma programs

sufficiently supplied all the education and preparation a

working nurse could possibly need (Bridgman, 1966; Davis et

al., 1966).

The initial programs developed at The University of

Minnesota and in many other universities were not different

from the numerous diploma programs in existence. The pro-

grams were three years in length and the graduates received

a diploma in nursing upon completion. It was not until ten

years later that Minnesota instituted an undergraduate

baccalaureate program for nursing students, and by that

time a number of other universities had already taken such

a step (Davis et al., 1966). During the period between

1910 and 1930 nursing leaders recognized the need for the

development of higher educational standards. Through

their efforts, the Association of Collegiate Schools of

Nursing (ACSN) was established in 1932. This association,

though not an accrediting agency, examined member schools'

programs to ascertain if they met the established stan-


Of the numerous collegiate programs in existence,

twenty schools were either full members or associate mem-

bers in the ACSN by 1935. During World War II there was a

rapid expansion in the number of collegiate nursing

programs. All of these programs were not eligible for

membership in the ACSN because they did not meet the re-

quired standards. By 1948, through the efforts of numerous

nursing educators, the National Nursing Accrediting Service

was established in an attempt to set down criteria for the

evaluation of all existing and developing nursing programs

(Kiniery, 1963).

Accreditation of programs was not firmly established

until 1952 when the National League for Nursing Accrediting

Service was formed. The establishment of an accrediting

service was a step forward because it determined the

criteria that differentiated collegiate programs from

diploma programs.

The Associate Degree Program

After World War II the public and nurses alike be-

came increasingly aware of the widening gap between the

quantity and quality of nursing services. Nursing educa-

tors were confronted with the problem of attaining and

maintaining the proper alignment of the nursing educa-

tional system with the fundamental social and economic

changes taking place in the face of rapidly developing

scientific and medical advancements. Following the war,

the United States was experiencing an explosion of technical

and medical knowledge (e.g., the discovery and refinement

of many antibiotics and antibiotic therapies). The public

demanded higher living standards and available quality

medical services (Anderson, 1966).

In an effort to explore the nature of the nursing

shortage national nursing organizations and universities

with nursing programs undertook studies of nursing prac-

tice. In the early 1950's Mildred L. Montag (Montag &

Gotkin, 1966; Montag, 1975) set up the Cooperative Re-

search Project in Junior and Community College Education

for Nursing. Under this project eight participating

schools--five two-year junior colleges, two four-year in-

stitutions of higher education, and one hospital school

of nursing--were assisted in developing programs for the

education of potential nurses. Seven of the eight pro-

grams awarded an associate degree to graduates of the

program (Bullough & Bullough, 1969). This new nurse has

been described as a "bedside nurse" to differentiate her

from nurses with broader professional preparation (Montag

& Gotkin, 1966). The assumptions underlying the develop-

ment of the associate degree nurse program were as follows:

1. The functions of nursing can and should be
differentiated into three basic categories:
the professional, the semi-professional or
technical, and the assisting.

2. The great bulk of nursing functions lie in
the intermediate category, the semi-profes-
sional or technical. Therefore the greatest
number of persons should be prepared to fill
these functions.

3. Education for nurses belongs within the or-
ganized educational framework.

4. The junior-community college, the post-high
school educational institution specifically
suited to semi-professional or technical
education, is the logical institution for
the preparation of the large group of nurses.

5. When preparation for nursing is education--
rather than service-centered, the time re-
quired may be reduced.(Montag & Gotkin,
1966, p. 34)

By design the associate degree nurse was to perform

technical (or semi-professional) functions at the regis-

tered nurse level and be prepared for beginning practi-

tioner positions (Montag & Gotkin, 1966).

The community college, being one of the fastest grow-

ing enterprises in America, readily accepted the proposi-

tion of educating nurses in associate degree programs.

In 1956 there were only the eight pilot schools but by

1975 there were 603 programs in community and junior

colleges awarding associate degrees in nursing (Facts

About Nursing 76-77, 1977).

Controversies in Nursing

In 1965 the American Nurses Association's Committee

on Nursing Education published its first position paper

on nursing education. The position was as follows:

1. The education for all those who are licensed
to practice nursing should take place in in-
stitutions of higher education.

2. The minimum preparation for beginning pro-
fessional nursing practice at the present time
should be baccalaureate degree education in

3. The minimum preparation for beginning tech-
nical nursing practice at the present time
should be the associate degree education in
nursing. (American Nurses Association, 1965,
pp. 107-108)

This position paper went on to define the components

of professional and technical practice. Professional

nursing was said to have three orientations, specifi-

cally care, cure, and coordination. The care orientation

included dealing with humans under stress, providing com-

fort, listening, evaluating, and intervening appropriately.

The cure emphasis, in contrast to the medical profession,

was the promotion of health. Finally, the coordination

aspect of professional nursing was that of dealing with the

health and welfare of those in the community.

Technical nursing was said to be skill oriented in

that it involved the application of the basic principles

of science. The nursing functions within technical prac-

tice were patient status review and planning care with

other health care team members. The position paper did

not limit the depth of technical practice but confined

the scope of practice. The technical nurse was to be

directly under the supervision of the professionally

trained nurse (American Nurses Association, 1965).

The American Nurses Association position produced

great controversy among nurses across the nation. What

would become of the diploma schools and their graduates?

Where did the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) fit into

the plan? How did one distinguish between technical and

professional practice? Were baccalaureate programs

affordable and accessible to those who wanted to obtain

the professional degree? What was wrong with the status


Although the American Nurses Association's position

was far from unanimously supported, there was a demon-

strable effect on nursing education. In 1965, 77 per cent

of basic nursing education took place in diploma programs;

in 1975, these programs were responsible for only 29 per

cent of the basic nursing education. During the same

time period the combined total of associate and bacca-

laureate graduates have gone from 23 per cent to 71 per

cent. The associate degree programs accounted for 44 per

cent of the total graduates and the baccalaureate degree

programs accounted for 27 per cent of the total graduates.

Additionally, in 1975 7 per cent of all students in bacca-

laureate programs were currently licensed registered

nurses who had graduated from associate and diploma pro-

grams (Facts About Nursing 76-77, 1977).

The efforts of the American Nurses Association to

define technical and professional practice have represented

an ever continuing drive on the part of the nursing pro-

fession to improve its professional status. In order for

a group to establish professional status, education of its

practitioners must take place in institutions of higher

education. Preparation for professional practice must

encompass mastery of the theory underlying its practice,

not just apprenticeship training (Moore, 1970).

Although over the next decade more research was con-

ducted investigating the nature of the graduates and

students of the three nursing educational programs,

little had been done to implement the elements of the

1965 position paper. Therefore, the 1978 convention of

the American Nurses Association established a timetable

for the implementation of the 1965 standards. The

association established that "by 1980, two categories of

nursing practice be identified" and "that the bacca-

laureate should be the minimum preparation for entry into

professional nursing practice by 1985" (American Nurses

Association, 1978). Although the resolutions of the

American Nurses Association have no legal implications,

the ramifications within nursing produced by the 1978

recommendations have only begun to be felt.

Between the 1965 American Nurses Association position

paper and the 1978 resolutions, the National Commission

for the Study of Nursing and Nursing Education was formed

with Jerome Lysaught appointed as director. The charge

to the committee was to investigate how to improve the de-

livery of health care to the American people through the

analysis of improvement of nursing and nursing education.

The following are some of the major recommendations

pertaining to nursing education:

1. Each state will have, or create, a master
planning committee that will take nursing

education under its purview, such com-
mittees to include representatives of
nursing education, other health profes-
sions, and the public, to recommend
specific guidelines, means for implementa-
tion, and deadlines to ensure that nursing
education is positioned in the mainstream
of American educational patterns with its
preparatory programs located in collegiate

2. Those hospital schools that are strong and
vital, endowed with qualified faculty, suit-
able educational facilities, and motivated
for excellence be encouraged to seek and
obtain regional accreditation and degree
granting power.

3. All other hospital schools of nursing move
systematically and with dispatch to effect
interinstitutional arrangements with col-
legiate institutions so that graduates of
the nursing preparatory program will receive
an academic degree from the educational in-
stitution upon completion of their course
of instruction.

4. Junior and senior collegiate institutions
cooperatively develop programs and curricula
that will preserve the integrity of their
institutions and their aims while facilita-
ting the social and professional mobility
of the nursing student. (Lysaught, 1970,
pp. 109-113)

In summary, the earliest nursing schools in the United

States were diploma programs which followed the Nightin-

gale pattern. In order to relieve financial difficulties

and increase clinical experiences for their students

these schools were incorporated into the hospital structure.

As the need for medical and nursing services increased,

the diploma schools rapidly increased in size and number

of programs, where the primary educational mode was

apprenticeship training. Nursing educators spent almost

a century trying to correct this and establish nursing

as an independent profession. The effort to establish

independence prompted the upgrading of diploma schools.

Concurrently they established nursing programs in

colleges and universities to attempt to equate nursing

education with the education of the other professions.

With three different educational programs for nursing

established, controversies developed within nursing as

to which of these should be the basic education prepara-

tion for the professional nurse.

Comparisons of the Three Educational
Programs in Nursing

Before the 1965 American Nurses Association position

paper few studies had been reported comparing the three

educational programs in nursing. After the position

paper many studies were conducted, but rarely were all

the nursing program types studied. Consistently the

baccalaureate degree student and graduate was included

with only sporadic inclusion of the associate degree or

diploma student or graduate.

The reported studies can be separated into two major

divisions: specifically those studies dealing with dif-

ferentiation of programs on biographical and cognitive

variables, and those dealing with differentiation of

programs on affective and personality variables.

Biographical and
Cognitive Variables

Bayer and Schoenfeldt (1970) conducted one of the

earliest and largest studies. In this study students in

diploma programs were compared with students in bacca-

laureate degree programs. The researchers concluded that

the basic difference between students in the two program

types were only in terms of the socioeconomic variables:

number of books, magazines, and appliances in the home,

luxury items, cultural equipment, sports equipment, the

student having his own room, number of cars in the family,

number of rooms in the home of the student, the student's

father's and mother's education. Consistently for these

groups the baccalaureate students came from "advantaged"

households. When a similar study was conducted by Hartley

(1975) using associate and baccalaureate degree students,

father's education and mother's education were found to be

not significantly different in the two groups studied.

Other studies that compared socioeconomic variables in-

cluded Dustan's study (1964) where he suggested that there

was no difference in family income when studying all three

educational programs. In 1971 Wren's study of all three

programs demonstrated no difference using occupations

of the parents as well as no difference in the amount of

financial assistance the students required or utilized.

Several researchers investigated the difference in

family composition among students in the three program

types. They found that associate degree students tended

to be older, often married with children, and residents

in the community where they attended school (Dustan,

1964; Meleis & Farrell, 1974; Wren, 1971).

Most of the researchers' investigations of the edu-

cational programs included cognitive variables. The

results, however, were not consistent in this area.

Dustan (1964) found that associate degree students had

higher aptitudes than either baccalaureate or diploma

students. Using the Scholastic Aptitude Test, Wren (1971)

demonstrated that baccalaureate degree students scored

highest with the diploma students the next highest. When

looking at State Board Examination scores, Counts (1975)

concluded that there was no difference in associate

degree graduates' state board scores and those of bacca-

laureate degree graduates. An examination of the state

board scores by Bain (1974) yielded another set of results.

The highest scores were among baccalaureate degree gradu-

ates. The diploma graduates' scores were next followed

by the associate degree graduates' scores.

Other cognitive or biographical variables that have

been examined by one researcher have not been replicated

by other investigators. Meleis and Farrell (1974) found

that diploma students placed a higher value on research

than did associate degree or baccalaureate degree stu-

dents. When looking at previous health care experience

Wren (1971) suggested that associate degree students

were more likely to have had some previous experience

than either the diploma or baccalaureate degree students.

Other differences in variables of this nature were found

in almost every study in this area (Bain, 1974; Hartley,


Affective and Per-
sonality Variables

Bayer and Schoenfeldt (1970) concluded that there

was a difference between baccalaureate and diploma stu-

dents in terms of artistic ability, verbal ability and

goal direction. The baccalaureate program students were

higher in artistic and verbal ability, but less goal-

directed than the diploma students. Hoover (1975) who

also looked at baccalaureate and diploma students found

that baccalaureate students were more restrictive in the

patients they preferred to care for, placed a higher

value on ability to function, and were more interested in

promotion in the facility in which they were employed

after graduation.

In a comparison of all three educational programs

Davis (1973) concluded that baccalaureate graduates were

more involved in prestigious function, i.e., teaching,

team leading, etc., while associate degree nurses tended

to do more non-prestigious nursing functions, i.e.,

treatments and medications. Baccalaureate students have

been shown to focus more on the psychological needs of

patients (Gray, Murray, Noy and Sawyer, 1977), to be more

care oriented as defined by the American Nurses Association

in 1965, to possess better leadership abilities (Gold-

stein, 1978; Gray et al., 1977) and communication skills

(Nelson, 1978). Diploma students, on the other hand,

evidenced a higher self-perception of themselves as

nurses and nursing administrators (Nelson, 1978). Asso-

ciate degree nurses felt excluded by graduates of the

other two program types (Davis, 1973), were not focused

on the physical needs of patients, and were more cure

oriented (Gray et al., 1977).

Professional Socializa-
tion Studies

In 1964 Davis and Olesen surveyed changes in stu-

dent's imagery, consensus, and consonance at the con-

clusion of one year's study in a baccalaureate nursing

program. They found that the first year of nursing educa-

tion was the time during which the greatest change took

place in student imagery. Although they found a trend

toward innovative and individualistic images of nursing

and away from bureaucratic images of nursing, they were

surprised to find no significant increase in consensus

among nursing students with respect to their images of

nursing. They reported that students' rating of traits

relative to nursing were influenced by their instructors'

emphasis on these same traits. Two follow up studies

confirmed these findings (Brown, Swift & Oberman, 1974;

Olesen & Davis, 1966).

A similar study was conducted by Siegel (1968).

Using the same trait scale as was used in the previous

studies, Siegel reported that senior nursing students in

two baccalaureate programs shared common perceptions of

nursing with their faculty. The students in the study

did not, however, reach consensus among themselves in

their characterization of nursing as they advanced in

class rank. Although the results concurred with those of

Davis and Olesen (1964), the weakness in all of these

studies was that no standardized instrument had been de-

veloped for the assessment of changes in students' views

of the nursing role. Without the development of a

standardized instrument, different studies do not increase

knowledge in the area of professional socialization. An

instrument which has been properly developed can be used

by other researchers pursuing the same area.

Richards (1972) reported that baccalaureate degree

students were more professionally socialized than

associate degree or diploma students were found to be.

Eller (1976) conducted a similar study and reported the

same findings. In both of these studies a basic assump-

tion was that professional socialization and a tradi-

tional view of nursing are at opposite extremes of the

same continuum. This assumption has not been accepted

by other researchers working in this area.

The previously reported studies of professional

socialization have demonstrated several weaknesses. The

most consistent exploration has focused on baccalaureate

students exclusively (Brown et al., 1974; Davis & Olesen,

1964; Olesen & Davis, 1966; Siegel, 1968; Tetreault, 1976).

Because nursing has been comprised of relatively few

baccalaureate nurses, the majority of nurses have there-

fore not been studied. Secondly, the instruments employed

have demonstrated weaknesses which are reviewed in the

next section. Finally, the basic assumption on which at

least two of the studies are based must be questioned.

To summarize, many studies have been conducted which

compare the students and graduates of the three nursing

educational programs. Many types of variables have been

employed that differentiated or identified similar

aspects of the programs. Few of these studies have been

replicated and therefore can be seen only as preliminary


Professional socialization has been studied only

sporadically. A lack of adequate socialization into a

profession has been shown to produce job dissatisfaction re-

sulting in attrition from nursing practice (Williams &

Williams, 1959). The origins of professional socializa-

tion are in the educational program, yet little is known

about its development. Less has been devised for its

assessment. Because professional socialization is vital

to the development of the nursing practitioner, this area

should receive further study. It is necessary that future

studies in this area be based on acceptable assumptions,

compare products of different educational programs, and

improve instrumentation in this area. These are the

emphases of the present study.

Measures of Professional

Few instruments have been developed for the measure-

ment of professional socialization in nursing. One of

the first instruments was the one used in the 1964 Davis

and Olesen study. This same instrument was also used in

Olesen and Davis (1966), Siegel (1968), and Brown et al.

(1974). This instrument was a 19-item checklist containing

broad, short statements relevant to nursing. Participants

were to check items they felt were important to nursing

and those important to themselves. Rather than develop-

ing individual total scores, totals were derived for each

item. The results were then reported in terms of the per-

centage of students checking each item.

Use of this questionnaire for the assessment of pro-

fessional socialization in nursing is limited. Some of

its weaknesses are (1) there is no method for deriving

individual scores established, (2) the items are no more

relevant to nursing than most other occupational groups,

and (3) there has been no investigation on the question-

naire's reliability and/or validity.

The instruments used in the studies by Richards (1972)

and Eller (1976) were not available for review nor dis-

cussed in their studies. In neither case was reliability

and/or validity discussed or mentioned.

In 1974 Crocker and Brodie developed the NPOS. Their

purpose in developing the NPOS was to construct a unidimen-

sional scale that would measure congruence between student

nurses' perceptions and faculty's views of the professional

nursing role. The initial pool of 112 items was comprised

of behaviors and traits frequently displayed by nurses

as wall as myths about nurses. After item analysis the

final pool of 59 items was tested for reliability and


The internal consistency of the NPOS, using Cronbach's

Alpha and calculated on a cross-validation group was

r = .89. Construct validity for the scale was demonstrated

empirically by showing that as nursing students advanced

in class rank, their scores became more congruent with

faculty views. Class means, i.e., freshman, sophomore,

junior, and senior, were significantly different (F /_3,240_7

= 34.7, p < .01). Using Scheffe's test for pairwise com-

parisons it was found that the mean score (total) of each

class was significantly greater than that of the lower


Scoring weights for the items were derived by adminis-

tering the scale to 94 nursing faculty members of three

universities and using the per cent of endorsement of each

response as the item weight. The percentage of faculty

who endorsed a particular response was rounded to the

nearest tenth, which replaced the original five choice

item weight. For example, if 82 per cent of the

faculty chose option three on item 16, option three on

item 16 would now have a scoring weight of eight, not

three. This method of scoring was developed so that the

only way a student could receive a high score was to

respond to the NPOS in a manner similar to that of the

faculty (Crocker & Brodie, 1974).

Among the instruments reviewed, the NPOS was the

only scale for the measurement of professional socializa-

tion that was based on appropriate procedures for instru-

ment development. Additionally, the instrument was the

first one that enabled the user to identify consensus

among students. Finally, the NPOS was based on assump-

tions congruent with professional socialization theory

and research. For these reasons the NPOS was chosen for

this study.

At least two researchers have utilized the NPOS in

their studies. Rodeghero (1975) investigated the con-

gruence of student and faculty views of nursing in a

diploma program. The results reported were that students

adopt professional views similar to those of their faculty.

Additionally, factor analysis was employed which yielded

four factors, two of which differentiated levels of

students. These two factors were identified as the Tradi-

tional/Structured factor and the Empathic/Moralistic


In 1978 Thomas utilized the NPOS in a study comparing

the professional socialization of associate degree, bacca-

laureate degree and diploma students. Thomas found no

differences in the professional socialization of students

from the three educational programs.

Both of these studies were conducted with the

original scoring method developed by Crocker and Brodie.

This method, developed over eight years ago, is question-

able for use at the present time. Additionally, both of

these studies were conducted using programs in one city

(Rodeghero, 1975) or one state (Thomas, 1978).

With the development of the NPOS, advances have been

made towards better assessment of professional socializa-

tion. Crocker (1978) has had numerous requests for the

use of the NPOS for past, present, and future research in

the area of professional socialization. Further develop-

ment of this instrument, by broadening its application

and strengthening its scoring methods can be an aid to

research in professional socialization.


Nursing education has developed rapidly in the

United States. The first program implemented was the

hospital-based diploma program followed by the bacca-

laureate and associate degree programs. These programs

co-existed relatively peacefully until the 1965 American

Nurses Association position paper was released. Each

program then began to offer justification for its exis-

tence and continuation.

Several studies have been conducted comparing the

three educational programs. Few major differences have been

found in the reported comparisons of the three educational

programs. One area in which program comparisons are

needed is the area of professional socialization. Studies

which have been reported were too limited in scope,

were based on weak assumptions, or utilized inadequate

instruments for the assessment of professional sociali-


One promising instrument for assessing professional

socialization in nursing is the NPOS. Use of this in-

strument for research and evaluation in nursing educa-

tion is growing, but the original scoring scheme is now


outdated. Revision of the scoring scheme of the NPOS is

needed before the potential usefulness can be realized

in measuring professional socialization.



This study was designed for two reasons. First, the

area of professional socialization in nursing requires

further study specifically in terms of different educa-

tional programs. Second, available instrumentation in

the area of professional socialization is for the most

part inadequate. The NPOS has shown promise in studies

of professional socialization and with further testing

for improvement it may prove to be of more use in the

future. This study was designed in two phases: (1)

establishing the two new scoring methods for the NPOS, and

(2) administering the NPOS to students from associate

degree and baccalaureate degree nursing programs for the

analysis of program effect on professional socialization.

The Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated to be

tested in the present study. These hypotheses were

divided into subsets according to the scoring method of


Subset 1

Hypothesis 1:

Hypothesis 2:

Hypothesis 3:

Subset 2

Hypothesis 4:

Hypothesis 5:

Hypothesis 6:

When using the Traditional/Nontradi-
tional scoring method, there is no dif-
ference between the mean total NPOS
score of the associate degree students
and the baccalaureate degree students.

When using the Traditional/Nontra-
ditional scoring method, there is no
difference in total NPOS scores among
students with different levels of

There is no interaction between edu-
cational program and HSGPA which
affects student scores on the NPOS,
using the Traditional/Nontraditional
scoring method.

When using the Practicing Nurses
scoring method, there is no difference
between the mean total NPOS scores of
the associate degree students and the
baccalaureate degree students.

When using the Practicing Nurses scor-
ing method, there is no difference
in total NPOS scores among students
with different levels of HSGPA.

There is no interaction between
educational program and HSGPA which
affects student scores on the NPOS
using the Practicing Nurses scoring

In addition, the following question was formulated

to be investigated in the study.

Question 1: What will be the effect of two
different scoring schemes on
reliability (internal consistency)?


For the present study nursing programs were selected

from the National League for Nursing accredited associate

and baccalaureate degree programs in six southeastern

states. The initial states chosen were Alabama, Florida,

Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

These states were chosen for several reasons.

1. Taken as a group these stats form a contiguous
geographical area,

2. These states are approximately equidistant from
the site of the study, and

3. Nursing educational programs in these states
all belong to the same regional agency (the
Southern Regional Educational Board) and there-
fore meet the same educational standards.

From each of these states one associate and one

baccalaureate degree program were selected. The following

criteria were used in the selection:

1. Both the associate and baccalaureate degree
programs were in close geographical proximity
to each other.

2. Each program was state supported, and

3. No program was racially or sexually

The dean or director of each nursing program was

contacted by mail in March or April of 1978 requesting the

participation of the entire class of graduating seniors.

In one instance the school's institutional review board

for reviewing research proposals was also contacted. If

a dean wrote that her program or students were unable to

participate and a substitute school could be found that

met the aforementioned criteria, the substituted school

was then contacted. Of the original six states chosen,

programs in four states were in the final analysis. The

two states and their programs had to be deleted because

either no programs were able to participate or a com-

panion program could not be found for a participating


All of the schools contacted responded to the initial

contact letter. Of the programs contacted, 62 per cent of

the associate degree and 55 per cent of the baccalaureate

degree schools agreed to participate in the study. Schools

agreeing to participate are listed in Appendix A.

Once the dean or director returned the completed

consent form the total number of requested scales was

mailed. The dean or director distributed the question-

naires to all of the graduating seniors and when completed

returned the questionnaires. A total of 557 questionnaires

was distributed and 332 returned for a 60 per cent return

rate. Sixteen questionnaires were completed by previously

licensed registered nurses and thus were omitted from the

analysis. Additionally, in one state there was no partici-

pating baccalaureate program so the paired associate degree

program had to be dropped. This resulted in a total of

276 completed scales. All questionnaires were handled

confidentially and no identifying information was col-

lected. Demographic data for the participating students

are shown in Tables 1, 2 and 3.


The NPOS was used as the measure of professional

socialization in this study. The NPOS, a rating scale,

is composed of 59 items representing a portion of the

domain of professional socialization in nursing. Re-

spondents were asked to judge the importance of each

trait (item) for the practicing, professional nurse in


Table 1

Number of Students Participating by Program
(n = 276)

Program n

Associate degree

Jefferson State Junior College 62
Georgia State University 11
Fayetteville Technical Institute 38*
Florence-Darlington Technical College 20
Columbia State Community College 27

Baccalaureate degree

University of Alabama in Birmingham 40
Valdosta State College 45
University of South Carolina 41
University of Tennessee 30

*Dropped from the final analysis

Table 2

Percentage of Participants in Each Program
by Sex and Race Categories
(n = 276)

% %

% % %

Program Male Female BlacK wnlie urienJal

Associate degree 7.5 92.5 10.0 89.2 .8
(n = 120)

Baccalaureate degree 13.5 86.5 4.5 94.2 1.3
(n = 156)

Total 10.9 89.1 6.9 92.0 1.0


Table 3

HSGPA By Program
(n = 276)

Program n % n % n %

Associate degree 32 27 76 63 12 10

Baccalaureate degree 72 46 72 46 12 8

her occupation and role as a nurse. They rated each item

from extremely important to undesirable on a five point

scale. Sample items and the directions are shown in

Appendix B. This scale is self-administered and takes

approximately 25 minutes to complete. The participating

students were asked to supply the following biographical

data while completing the NPOS: age, sex, ethnic group,

licensure status prior to enrollment in their present pro-

gram, and HSGPA.

Development of the Traditional/
Nontraditional Scoring Key

From the University of Florida College of Nursing 32

nursing faculty members were selected, due to their

accessibility, to provide the data on which to develop

the Traditional/Nontraditional scoring method. Each faculty

member was given the 59-item NPOS and asked to determine

for each item whether a nurse would be traditionally or non-

traditionally oriented if she endorsed it. A 90 per cent

return rate was achieved. This is probably due to per-

sonal distribution of the instrument to each participant.

The percentage of faculty choosing each option, either

traditional or untraditional, was tabulated. A 67 per cent

agreement was determined to be the minimum endorsement an

option must have for an item to be considered either tra-

ditionally or nontraditionally oriented (standard error

of this percentage = .08). For example, if for an item

72 per cent of the faculty chose the traditional option

as their belief about the orientation of that item, the

item would be considered a traditionally oriented item.

If, however, 52 per cent of the faculty chose the tradi-

tional option on an item (leaving 48% that chose nontra-

ditional), the item was dropped from this scoring method as

its orientation was not determined when a 67 per cent cut

off was established. If 32 per cent chose traditional

and 68 per cent chose nontraditional on an item, that item

would be considered nontraditionally oriented. Thirteen

items were deleted because there was not an endorsement

of either option (traditional or nontraditional) by 67

per cent of the respondents. The remaining 46 items were

divided into those items with a traditional orientation

(16 items) and those with a nontraditional orientation

(30 items). It was decided that a high score should

represent a traditional orientation, so the item weights

(1 through 5) were reversed on the 30 nontraditional

items. Using this manipulation, the only way an individual

could achieve a high score would be to rate the behaviors

described in traditional items as "important" or "ex-

tremely important" and rate the traits described in non-

traditional items as "unimportant" or "undesirable." The

decision for a traditional orientation to receive a high

score was an arbitrary one.

Development of the Practicing
Nurses Scoring Key

To develop a scoring key based on practitioners'

views, a different method was used. Six directors of

nursing services were contacted in five states in the

southeast to request participation in this portion of the

study. These directors were chosen because the hospitals

in which they were employed were in the same geographical

region as the universities and community colleges that

were in the data collection. The nurses in these hospitals

tend to have graduated from the nursing schools in the

immediate vicinity and therefore would better represent

the views of nursing in that area. Five directors of nurs-

ing agreed to participate, though all responded to the

original contact letter, for an 83 per cent return rate.

The participating hospitals are shown in Appendix A.

After receiving consent to participate the specified

number of scales was sent to the nursing director for

dispersal to the nurses. A total of 565 questionnaires

were mailed out and 226 returned for a return rate of

40 par cent. The scoring weights were then calculated in

a manner identical to that of the original NPOS scoring

weights. The percentage of nurses endorsing a particular

response was rounded to the nearest tenth, which replaced

the original five possible responses. For example, if

68 per cent of the nurses endorsed option 2 on an item,

option 2 would have a new scoring weight of seven. Each

option for the 59 items was reweighted in this manner.

This was done so the only way an individual could achieve

a high score using this method would be to answer the

item in a manner similar to that of practicing nurses.

The nurses supplied the following biographical data:

age, sex, ethnic group, clinical area where employed,

year initially licensed, years since initial licensure

when not employed in nursing, basic educational prepara-

tion in nursing, and highest level of education attained.

These data were not considered in the analysis but were

collected for a demographic description of the partici-

pating nurses. This information is shown in Tables 4 and 5.

Table 4

Participating Nurses by Age, Year Licensed
to Practice Nursing, and Years Not
Practiced Nursing
(n = 226)

Year licensed to Years not prac-
Age practice nursing ticed nursing

Mean 31.90 1967.89 1.00

Median 29.72 1971.85 .19

Mode 24.00 1975 .00

SD 9.40 11.35 2.39

Table 5

Participating Nurses by Sex, Race, Area
Employed, First Nursing Degree, and
Highest Educational Degree
(n = 226)

Variable Frequency Percentage

Male 4 1.8
Female 222 98.2

Black 29 12.8
Hispanic 1 .4
White 195 86.3
Oriental 1 .4

Area Employed
Medical-Surgical 97 42.9
Pediatrics 13 5.8
Obstetrics 26 11.5
Intensive care 48 21.2
Emergency room 4 1.8
Psychiatrics 22 9.7
Inservice 8 3.5
Administration 5 2.2
Admissions 1 .4
None 2 .9

First Nursing Degree
Diploma 79 35.0
Associate degree 67 29.6
Baccalaureate degree 78 34.5
Other 2 .9

Highest Educational Degree
Diploma 55 24.3
Associate degree 54 23.9
Baccalaureate degree 82 36.3

Table 5 (Continued)

Variable Frequency Percentage

Baccalaureate (Non-nursing) 10 4.4
Master's in nursing 21 9.3
Master (Non-nursing) 3 1.3
Other 1 .4

The Analysis of the Data

The hypotheses for each scoring method were tested,

using a 2 X 3 factorial design, treating educational pro-

gram and HSGPA as independent variables and score on the

NPOS as the dependent variable. A classical regression

solution was used for determining significance of the mean

program differences, variation due to HSGPA and the inter-

action of program and HSGPA (Overall & Spiegel, 1969).

The level of significance for each hypothesis tested was

set at p < .05. Question 1 was explored by investigating

the internal consistency using Cronbach's Coefficient Alpha

for each scoring scheme.


A total of 276 associate degree and baccalaureate

degree students participated in this study. Each student

respondent read a list of traits or characteristics relevant

to nursing and rated the importance of each trait for a

professional nurse on a five point scale ranging from

"undesirable" to"extremely important." Two scoring methods

were developed with the participation of 29 nursing faculty

members and 226 practicing nurses. These scoring methods


were used to compute professionalization scores for each

student nurse.

The data were analyzed separately for each scoring

method using a 2 X 3 factorial design. The classical re-

gression solution was used to test the effect of educa-

tional program, HSGPA, and the interaction of program and

HSGPA on professional socialization (Overall & Spiegel,

1969). Reliability estimates for each scoring method were

calculated using Cronbach's Coefficient Alpha (Nie, Hull,

Jenkins, Steinbrenner & Bent, 1975).



In this study professional socialization of students

in two types of nursing educational programs was analyzed

using two new scoring methods for the NPOS. Scoring

weights for the NPOS were derived using the two tech-

niques described in Chapter III. These new scoring weights

were then utilized in comparisons of the students' total

scores on the NPOS. The results of the statistical tests

for the previously stated hypotheses are presented in this

chapter. Finally, the reliabilities for each scoring

method were estimated.

Hypotheses Testing

Hypothesis 1;

Hypothesis 2:

When using the Traditional/Nontra-
ditional scoring method, there is no
difference between the mean total NPOS
score of the associate degree and
baccalaureate degree students.

When using the Traditional/Nontra-
ditional scoring methods, there is no
difference in total NPOS scores among
students with different levels of

Hypothesis 3: There is no interaction between educa-
tional program and HSGPA which affects
student scores on the NPOS, using the
Traditional/Nontraditional scoring

Data were analyzed using a 2 X 3 factorial design

with educational program and high school grade point

average as independent variables and total score with the

Traditional/Nontraditional method as the dependent vari-

able. Due to unequal cell sizes and the possibility of a

significant program-grade point interaction the classical

regression solution was used (Overall & Spiegel, 1969) to

test the hypotheses. The means and standard deviations

are shown in Table 6. The results of this analysis are

presented in Table 7. Significant main effects for educa-

tional program and high school grade point average were

found (F /1.270_7 = 4.39, p < .05; F / 2,270_7 = 5.12,

p < .05).

The interaction of educational programs and high

school grade point average did not result in a significant

F value. When the Scheffe's procedure for pairwise post

hoc comparisons was employed, students with a B HSGPA

were found to have the highest mean total NPOS score.

Thus, Hypothesis 1 was rejected, indicating there

is a significant difference between associate and

Table 6

Means and Standard Deviations of Students Total
Scores by Programs and HSGPA Using the
Traditional/Nontraditional Scoring Method
(n = 276)

Program A B C Row Total

Associate degree

Mean 170.13 177.53 176.67 175.47

SD 15.23 17.04 17.93 16.84

Baccalaureate degree

Mean 167.79 174.32 165.25 170.61

SD 18.05 15.21 13.65 16.76

Column total

Mean 168.51 175.97 170.96

SD 17.20 16.20 16.64

Table 7

Analysis of Total NPOS Score Computed with the
Traditional/Nontraditional Scoring Method as
a Function of Program Type, HSGPA, and the
Interaction Between Program and HSGPA
(n = 276)

Source SS df MS F

Program (A) 1203.82 1 1203.82 4.39*

HSGPA (B) 2808.63 2 1404.32 5.12*

A X B 407.58 2 203.79 .74

Residual 74110.89 270 274.49

*p < .05

baccalaureate degree students in their scores on the NPOS

using the Traditional/Nontraditional scoring method. On

the average, students in the associate degree programs

held a more traditional view of nursing than did students

in the baccalaureate degree programs. Hypothesis 2 was

rejected indicating there is also a difference among levels

of HSGPA across programs. Hypothesis 3, relating the

effects of interaction of educational program and HSGPA

with total NPOS score using the Traditional/Nontraditional

method cannot be rejected.

Hypothesis 4: When using the Practicing Nurses
scoring method, there is no dif-
ference between the mean total NPOS
scores of the associate degree stu-
dents and the baccalaureate degree

Hypothesis 5: When using the Practicing Nurses
scoring method, there is no dif-
ference in total NPOS scores among
students with respect to levels

Hypothesis 6: There is no interaction between educa-
tional program and HSGPA which affects
student scores on the NPOS when using
the Practicing Nurses scoring method.

These data were analyzed using a 2 X 3 factorial

design with educational program and HSGPA as independent

variables and total score with the Practicing Nurses

method as the dependent variable. Due to unequal cell

sizes and the possibility of a significant program-grade

point average interaction, the classical regression

approach was used (Overall & Spiegel, 1969). The means

and standard deviations are presented in Table 8. The

results of this analysis are presented in Table 9. No

significant main effect for educational program or HSGPA

was found. Additionally the interaction between HSGPA

and educational program was not significant. Thus,

Hypotheses 4, 5 and 6 cannot be rejected.

Effects on Reliability

The reliability of the NPOS scores derived from the

new scoring schemes was estimated by calculating Cronbach's

Coefficient Alpha. Using the Traditional/Nontraditional

scoring scheme, the internal consistency of the NPOS was

r = .81. When calculated on the practicing nurses scoring

scheme the NPOS internal consistency was r = .88. These

results indicate that the new scoring systems for the

NPOS have acceptable internal consistencies.

Summary of the Results

For the Traditional/Nontraditional scoring scheme

a 2 X 3 factorial analysis of variance (program and HSGPA)

Table 8

Means and Standard Deviations of Students Total
Scores by Programs and HSGPA Using the
Practicing Nurses Scoring Method
(n = 276)

Program A B C Row Total

Associate degree

Mean 199.06 210.93 199.42 206.62

SD 42.73 22.26 44.45 31.67

Baccalaureate degree

Mean 205.92 201.50 208.75 204.10

SD 25.40 35.18 18.18 29.87

Column total

Mean 203.81 206.34 204.08

SD 31.69 29.55 33.55

Table 9

Analysis of Total NPOS Score Computed with the
Practicing Nurses Scoring Method as a Function
of Program Type, HSGPA and the Interaction
Between Program and High School
Grade Point Average
(n = 276)

Source SS df MS F

Program (A) 190.94 1 190.94 .20

HSGPA (B) 781.77 2 390.88 .42

A X B 4549.08 2 2274.54 2.43

Residual 252787.21 270 936.25

indicated a significant main effect for educational pro-

gram and HSGPA. The Practicing Nurses scoring method

yielded no significant main effects. In neither scoring

scheme did the interaction between program and HSGPA

yield a significant F value. These results can be inter-

preted as follows: (1) the Traditional/Nontraditional

scoring scheme is sensitive to differences in types of

educational programs; the associate degree students were

more traditional than the baccalaureate students, and (2)

the Practicing Nurses scoring scheme was either not

sensitive enough to differentiate the educational programs

or in fact there is no difference between the educational

programs when compared to practicing nurses.

The internal consistency estimates calculated for the

NPOS using the two new scoring schemes were such that

either scoring scheme could potentially be used for the

assessment of professional socialization.



The two major purposes of this study were (1) to fur-

ther refine the scoring methods of the NPOS and thereby

broaden its applications, and (2) to compare the mean

total scores on the NPOS of associate and baccalaureate

degree students using the two scoring methods developed.

In this chapter the results will be discussed, limitations

identified, and suggestions for future research offered.

The internal consistencies of the scoring methods

developed for the NPOS, r = .81 for the Traditional/Non-

traditional scoring method and r = .88 for the Practicing

Nurses scoring method,are sufficient to suggest that either

scoring scheme could be used for individual or group assess-

ment. Both of these scoring methods allow new applications

of the NPOS for the assessment of professional socializa-

tion. Prior to this study the NPOS had only been used in

measurement of consensus of student and faculty views of

the nursing profession. Though this instrument was an im-

provement over other available instruments, its applications

were limited. With the development of these additional

methods for scoring the NPOS, the potential usefulness

of this instrument has been broadened. This will cer-

tainly promote further research in the area of professional

socialization in nursing.

Scoring Method

When the Traditional/Nontraditional scoring method

was applied to the NPOS, educational program type and

HSGPA had a significant relationship to total NPOS score.

The associate degree students expressed a more traditional

orientation on the NPOS than the baccalaureate degree

students. This finding does not reflect on the degree of

professional socialization either of these groups of stu-

dents have attained, but rather identifies the orientation

of that socialization. The fact that the associate degree

students were found to have a more traditional orientation

only indicates that their view of nursing is more "tradi-

tional" as judged by the nursing faculty who rated the


It is interesting that these preliminary results lend

credence to the American Nurses Association position paper

on the two types of nurses (American Nurses Association,

1965). The function of technical or associate degree

graduate nurse would be by definition more traditional.

That is, being the care giver she would tend to follow a

more traditional pattern in providing nursing care. Al-

though new knowledge relevant to patient care would be

incorporated, she would still fulfill a nursing role as

it has been characterized for many years. The bacca-

laureate degree graduate, defined by the ANA as the pro-

fessional nurse, would tend to be more nontraditional.

The need to incorporate the cure emphasis in patient care

as well as the promotion of the health and welfare of

those in the community necessitates an alternative or non-

traditional approach to patient care. While other inter-

pretations are possible, this finding is evidence of con-

struct validity of this scoring method.

The significant main effect for high school grade

point average illustrates the importance of considering

this variable in analyzing data of this nature. Including

high school grade point average as a variable allows for

its consideration as both a main effect and as one part

of an interaction. Each student having a particular grade

point average may interact with the professional

socialization process in many ways. It is possible that

students with certain grade point averages may incor-

porate the aspects of professional socialization differently

or to a greater degree. Utilizing the Scheffe's post hcc

procedure for pairwise comparisons it was concluded that

students with a B HSGPA expressed the most traditional

orientations on the NPOS. No explanation can be offered

for this finding.

In any event, control of this important variable may

have enabled detection of a "program" effect that would

have gone unnoticed if HSGPA had not been included as a

factor in this design. This suggests that this variable

should be included in other comparison studies of nursing

education programs.

A significant interaction between educational program

and HSGPA was not found. This lack of a significant inter-

action was surprising and no set explanation can be offered

for this finding. Possibly admission criteria may have

changed to equalize entrance to junior and senior colleges.

Additionally, the schools included in this study may be

different from other programs of similar types in their

student HSGPA composition.


Practicing Nurses Scoring Method

When the Practicing Nurses scoring method was applied

to the NPOS neither educational program or high school

grade point average had a significant relationship to total

NPOS score. Associate and baccalaureate degree students

were found not to differ in their perceptions of profes-

sional nursing from the beliefs of practicing nurses. There

are at least two contending interpretations for this lack

of significant main effect. First, the NPOS, when scored

with this method, may not be sensitive enough to detect

differences that do exist. Considering that the nurses

included in this scoring method were from four different

educational programs (diploma, associate degree, bacca-

laureate degree, and foreign based), varied broadly in the

number of years practiced, and types of practice settings,

the definition of practicing nurses may need to be more

narrowly defined to produce a scoring method sufficiently

sensitive to detect possible differences in these educa-

tional programs.

Second, there may in fact be no differences in these

educational programs when students are compared with prac-

ticing nurses on the NPOS. This does not imply that these


students carry out the practice of nursing in a manner

identical to or even closely similar to that of currently

practicing nurses but rather that they view the fully pro-

fessional, practicing nurse in the same manner.

Although there was no significant main effect for

HSGPA when the Practicing Nurses scoring method was em-

ployed for scoring the NPOS, inclusion of this variable

remains important in preliminary studies of the assessment

of professional socialization. As was previously mentioned,

inclusion of this variable may enable detection of dif-

ferences that would otherwise go undetected.

As in the Traditional/Nontraditional scoring method

there was no significant program by HSGPA interaction.

This finding again remains unexplainable.

Limitations of the Study

There are several limitations to this study. Be-

cause the educational programs were chosen as a mechanism

for testing the scoring methods, the primary limitation

involves sample selection. The results of this study are

not generalizable to associate and baccalaureate degree

students nationwide. They are applicable only to the

eight schools participating. However, the fact that the

scoring schemes worked so effectively for these schools

is promising for their future applications. The demon-

stration of their usefulness in this preliminary study

makes it possible for the development of broader national

norms in the area of professional socialization in nursing.

The second area is that of the groups chosen for the

development of the scoring methods. The faculty employed

for development of the Traditional/Nontraditional scoring

method were from a baccalaureate degree nursing program

and may not represent the traditional or nontraditional

views of other nurses or faculty. Finally, the practicing

nurses may not have accurately represented the population

of nurses in the United States.

Suggestions for Future Research

In terms of the development of alternate scoring

methods for the NPOS one important suggestion for future

work in this area would be to utilize a broader sample for

the basis of the scoring methods. This would entail

(1) defining practicing nurses and sampling to satisfy

the definition for the Practicing Nurses scoring method,

and (2) utilize faculty from each educational program of

interest as well as practicing nurses to establish the

Traditional/Nontraditional scoring method. By incorporating

both of these methods several scoring schemes could be

utilized for very specific purposes in the assessment

of professional socialization.

When comparing students and graduates of educational

programs relative to their professional socialization as

measured by the NPOS a random national sample should be

used for the generalizability of the findings. It is im-

portant that local or regional studies be used only for

preliminary investigations. The methods and instruments

should then be employed at a national level for the develop-

ment of national norms. Such norms would be useful for

further application of the NPOS in nursing educational

program evaluation as well as assessment of professional

socialization in nursing practice.

Of interest would also be the investigation of

practicing nurses and their scores on the NPOS relative

to their basic nurses education. Although a preliminary

study was conducted in this area (Rodeghero, 1975), there

were limited implications for the data due to an overly

simplistic sampling strategy. In future research prac-

ticing nurses should be investigated using the NPOS in

relationship to the area of their nursing practice and

additional nursing degrees acquired.

The final suggestion for future research concerns

longitudinal studies. As mentioned earlier, it takes from

months to years to become socialized into a profession.

It is possible that as the length of time in the practice

of nursing increases, there may be a decrease in an

individual's NPOS scores or the scores may in fact remain

the same or increase. Insight into the reason why some

nurses remain in practice while others leave could possibly

be gained from such a longitudinal study.

Applications in Nursing Education

The NPOS with its newly developed scoring methods

has several applications for nursing education. These

applications are primarily focused on program evaluation,

If objectives have been established for a nursing educa-

tional program that have aspects of a traditional or

nontraditional orientation towards nursing or congruence

with beliefs of currently practicing nurses the NPOS

could be employed for the assessment of the attainment

of the objectivess. Secondly, the faculty's goals for

the graduates of a nursing program could be evaluated by

use of the NPOS with its different scoring methods.

Finally, the NPOS has applications in the current

educational programs for previously licensed registered

nurses at the baccalaureate level. If students' profes-

sional socialization were assessed upon entering the pro-

gram with the NPOS, upon completion of the program the

change in their socializations could be reinvestigated

with the NPOS.

Before utilizing either of the two new scoring methods

for the NPOS in studies of professional socialization or

program evaluation, the objectives of the investigation

must be clearly defined. These two scoring methods have

virtually no relationship with each other (r = .01) and

therefore will produce different results as they did in

this study. The scoring method most appropriate to the

objectives established should be selected.

Summary and Conclusions

This study examined the application of new scoring

methods to an established instrument for the assessment

of professional socialization. The two scoring methods

developed were the Traditional/Nontraditional method and

the Practicing Nurses method. These new scoring methods

were then used to differentiate between baccalaureate and

associate nursing educational programs. Reliabilities of

the two scoring methods were also investigated.

A total of 156 student nurses from four baccalaureate

program and 120 from four associate degree programs com-

pleted the professional socialization scale. Their re-

sponses were scored using both scoring schemes. Associate

degree students were found to be more traditional in their

orientation than baccalaureate degree students, but no

difference was found between students from the two pro-

grams when their professional socialization was determined

relative to practicing nurses. Utilizing the Traditional/

Nontraditional scoring method HSGPA had a significant

effect on the mean total NPOS score, but there was no

significant interaction between educational program and

HSGPA with either scoring method. Both scoring methods

yielded high internal consistency coefficients, indicating

that these scoring schemes are sufficiently reliable for

individual or group assessment.

This study demonstrated the potential of improving

available instrumentation in professional socialization

in nursing. When assessing professional socialization in

nursing educational programs consideration should be given

to admission criteria for the programs, since HSGPA was

related to professional socialization. As shown in this


study, it is not necessary to limit the application of

an instrument only to its original designated purpose.

New scoring methods and new norm groups may expand the

usefulness of well-developed, existing instruments.






University of Alabama
in Birmingham Hospitals

Bayfront Medical Center

Parkwood Hospital

North Carolina Memorial Hospital

Richland Memorial Hospital





North Carolina

South Carolina



Jefferson State Junior College

Georgia State University

Fayetteville Technical Institute

Florence-Darlington Technical

Columbia State Community




North Carolina

South Carolina




University of Alabama in

Valdosta State College

Georgia State University

University of South Carolina

University of Tennessee





South Carolina


*All students were registered nurses and had to be deleted.




Professional Trait Rating Scale


This questionnaire is composed of a list of
descriptive characteristics and behaviors.
You are asked to judge how essential each
trait is for the practicing, professional
nurse in fulfilling her role.

If you judge this trait to be:


Mark 5
Mark 4
Mark 3
Mark 2
Mark 1

There are no right or wrong answers for these
items. Judge each one in accordance with
your own personal opinion.

Please note that you have been asked to rate
these traits for the nurse as a practicing
professional only. DO NOT RATE THEIR IM-

1. Quietly

and obediently takes doctor's

1 2 3 4 5

2. Questions instructions when the reason
for them is not clear. 1 2 3 4 5

3. Can usually think of several alterna-
tive solutions to a problem. 1 2 3 4 5

4. Learns to accept the death of a
patient with no overt emotional signs. 1 2 3 4 5

5. Enjoys working with children. 1 2 3 4 5

6. Likes to be kept busy.

7. Always gets a doctor's order before
she initiates care for a patient.

8. Is willing to function as a counselor
for a patient who wants to discuss his

9. Enjoys working with patients of
all ages.

10. Punctual and prompt in carrying
out duties.

11. Quickly rises to the defense of
medical or hospital practices when
they are criticized by laymen.

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5



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