An exploratory study of Hong Kong front-line nurses' perception of professional autonomy

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An exploratory study of Hong Kong front-line nurses' perception of professional autonomy


Author: Chau, Shuk-yi
Title: An exploratory study of Hong Kong front-line nurses' perception of professional autonomy
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1999
Subject: Nurses -- China -- Hong Kong -- Attitudes
Autonomy (Psychology) -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Dept. of Nursing and Health Sciences
Pages: vi, 74 leaves : col. ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: This study aimed at exploring Hong Kong front-line nurses' perception of professional autonomy. Participants consisted of registered nurses from 4 acute care hospitals. The study was divided into 2 parts. The first part of the study surveyed the professional autonomy level of Hong Kong nurses. 800 copies of the Chinese version of Nursing Activity Scale were distributed to 4 acute care hospitals by systematic sampling method. 287 usable questionnaires were returned. The response rate was 35.87%. Results show that 4 nurses (1.4 %) scored at low level of professional autonomy, 127 nurses (44.4 %) scored at mid level of professional autonomy and 154 nurses (53.8 %) scored at high level of professional autonomy. Analysis of the Nursing Activity Scale shows that the professional autonomy scores are significantly (p < 0.05) related to highest nursing education level, rank in the organization and clinical training. Besides, years of experience is found to have a weak positive correlation with professional autonomy scores (r = 0.146, p < 0.05). The second part of the study employed the repertory grid technique in a semi-structured interview to explore individual systems about meaning of professional autonomy. A total of 30 nurses from various backgrounds were invited to participate in the interview. The interviewees included both female and male nurses from different age groups, ranks, basic nursing program and highest educational level, with or without clinical training or professional organization membership. The repertory grid analysis examined the perceived characteristics about an autonomous nurse, which helps to give a perceived picture of an ideal autonomous nurse. The perceived important characteristics of an autonomous nurse included knowledgeable, experienced, courageous, initiative, stick to principle, confident, innovative, efficient, calm, nice / friendly and hard working. The grid data also reflects that Hong Kong nurses prefer to become autonomous. However, this preference is only significantly related to education level. Finally, the grid data indicate that nurses also attribute unfavorable qualities to the autonomous nurse and this may make them hesitate about becoming an autonomous nurse.

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