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Int J Nurs Stud. 1985;22(1):21-32.

Sex-role stereotype, self-concept, education and experience: do they influence decision-making?


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of self-concept, sex-role stereotype, educational preparation and years of experience upon the nurse's attitudes regarding decision-making. The Joseph Decision-making Tool (JDMT) was designed by the investigator to measure nurses' attitudes regarding decision-making. The tool consists of 20 scenarios in which the subject is asked to make a decision regarding a patient problem. Having an alpha reliability of 0.79, the JDMT was found to be exceedingly useful and easy to administer. Self-concept was measured by the BEM Scale. A heterogeneous population of female staff nurses working in medical-surgical units of two large metropolitan hospitals was used. A stepwise multiple regression technique was used to measure the potency of the particular variables in question. In a selected sample of 85 nurses, it was found that nurses with masculine sex-type scores and diploma education (P less than 0.05) felt that nurses should assume responsibility for decision-making. Experience was found to have an inverse relationship (P less than 0.01) with the JDMT. The more experience the nurse has, the less willing she is to make decisions. The majority of nurses (62%) who participated in the study were found to have androgynous rather than feminine sex-role stereotype scores. These two findings indicate changing trends in the traditional view of staff nurses. These new findings will assist nurses in changing the current image of a typically feminine nurse with a low self-concept. This study found strengths in nurses that are often overlooked by the feminists when they study nurses.

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