Public perception of the educational preparation of the Registered Nurse

Susan Rae Levy, Tennessee State University


There is a crisis in the healthcare community. It is predicted that by the year 2020 there will be a 20% vacancy rate of Registered Nurses (RN). In an attempt to staff healthcare facilities with healthcare providers, many non-professional personnel are employed to provide care. This has led to the questions of who is the RN and who does the public want to provide their healthcare? Does the public know the difference in healthcare provider qualifications and educational preparation? Does the public want to be cared for by RNs educated on the internet with on-line programs or at the traditional university (on-ground) programs? Due to this interest, a descriptive study was initiated including the development of a new survey instrument. This descriptive study was designed to investigate the statistical significance among nine sets of dependent variables to the independent variable of patient perception of good or poor healthcare experiences with who they perceived as a nurse. The population of the study included 120 adult healthcare consumers from three primary healthcare clinics in Middle Tennessee. The survey consisted of questions related to demographics, healthcare, healthcare provider educational preparation, and role of the nurse. The reliability of the instrument questions scored a Cronbach Alpha of .89-.99. This study revealed that people with poor past healthcare experiences did not know the differences in healthcare providers. The study revealed no significant difference in the knowledge of how nurses are educated. The survey outcomes for trust of the nurse to give safe care resulted in no significant difference from both populations. There was a statistically significant difference among the consumer groups (good and poor past healthcare experiences) and the perception that nursing care given will be equal from graduates of an on-ground based or internet-based program. The past poor hospital healthcare consumers reported no significant differences in feeling comfortable being cared for by an entry-level RN trained on the internet.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Susan Rae Levy, "Public perception of the educational preparation of the Registered Nurse" (2007). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3290733.