Physician receptivity to nurse practitioners: A study of the correlates of the delegation of clinical responsibility

Robert S. Lawrence, Gordon H. DeFriese, Samuel M. Putnam, C. Glenn Pickard, A. Bruce Cyr, Sarah W. Whiteside

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


A survey to measure physician receptivity to nurse practitioners was conducted in North Carolina in 1973. All North Carolina physicians were asked to rate a list of 35 clinical tasks of varying levels of difficulty and responsibility according to their willingness to delegate these tasks to nurse practitioners. Using eight items from this list that were good discriminants of physician attitudes towards delegating responsibility, task delegation scores were correlated with physician characteristics and their responses to questions about recruitment, training, reimbursement, and willingness to hire nurse practitioners. Thirty-four per cent of the respondents would hire a nurse practitioner, whereas 52 per cent approved of the concept but would not hire one. Physicians who had previously worked with a nurse practitioner were more willing to hire one and had a higher task delegation score. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents would share their load with nurse practitioners in their offices, while 6 per cent would have them work in satellite clinics away from the physicians’ offices. Most physicians wanted their own nurse trained as a nurse practitioner in a program that combined a didactic course at a medical center with on-the-job training. The authors conclude that there is a potential demand for nurse practitioners in North Carolina and that the training program must prepare the nurse practitioners for the tasks physicians are willing to delegate to them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-310
Number of pages13
JournalMedical care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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