A Path Analytic Model of Ethical Conflict in Practice and Autonomy in a Sample of Nurse Practitioners

Nursing Ethics 12 (3):305-316 (2005)
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The purpose of this study was to test a causal model of ethical conflict in practice and autonomy in a sample of 254 nurse practitioners working in the primary care areas of family health, pediatrics, adult health and obstetrics/gynecology in the state of Maryland. A test of the model was conducted using a path analytic approach with LISREL 8.30 hypothesizing individual, organizational and societal/market factors influencing ethical conflict in practice and autonomy. Maximum likelihood estimation was used to estimate the parameters most likely to have generated the data. Forty-five percent of the total variance in ethical conflict was explained by the variables of ethical environment and ethical concern. Ethical concern, idealistic philosophy, ethics education in continuing education, percentage of client population enrolled in managed care, and market penetration explained 15% of the total variance in autonomy. The findings of this study indicate that the causal model of ethical conflict in practice and autonomy is consistent with the data and contributed to a fuller understanding of clinical decision making associated with practicing in a managed care environment. The final model supported a conceptual framework that is inclusive of three domains: individual, organizational and societal/market variables



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