Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Nursing

First Advisor

Karen Wickersham


Background: Caring, a characteristic of an effective work environment, and clinical nurse control over the professional governance of nursing practice results in higher nursing retention and better patient outcomes. Although the concepts of caring and professional governance of nursing practice, and their discrete associations with patient outcomes, are widely studied, little to no research is published on the nature of the relationship between caring and professional governance of nursing practice. Without understanding this relationship, it is challenging to explore the impact of this relationship on nursing practice and patient outcomes.

Aims: The purpose of this study was to describe nurse perceptions of the relationships of caring and professional governance of nursing practice and identify characteristics of nursing roles and experiences and institutional descriptive factors that influence nurse perceptions of the relationship between caring and professional governance of nursing practice.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we examined the relationship between nurse perception of professional governance and nurse perception of caring culture. We recruited registered nurses (N=123) to complete a survey that included a demographic questionnaire, the Index of Professional Nursing Governance (IPNG) 3.0, and the Relational Caring Questionnaire – Professional Form (RCQ-PF). Data analysis included descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlation, and linear regression.

Findings: We found a statistically significant moderate correlation of .472 (p = .000) between the RCQ-PF and IPNG 3.0 total scales and determined age and employment status impacts the relationship between nurse perceptions of caring and professional governance. For every one unit increase of the RCQ-PF (caring), the IPNG 3.0 (professional governance) increased by 22.54 (95% confidence interval (CI), 13.33 – 31.75).

Conclusions: Practicing nurses can apply this knowledge by bundling actions into daily practice. Educators can teach the importance of both concepts in professional nursing, adding the conceptual framework to this discussion. Nurse researchers can build on this foundational knowledge, exploring factors that impact the relationship and, eventually, the impact of the relationship on outcomes. Further studies can distinguish key components that can be leveraged to retain nurses and enrich the caring environment and the clinical nurse’s control over professional governance of nursing practice, thus resulting in better outcomes.


© 2023, Lan Angela Nguyen

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Nursing Commons