Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD, Director; William P. Foster, EdD; Mary Ann Hautman, PhD


decision-making patterns, descriptive correlational study, Leadership studies, Nurse Practitioners, patient care, primary care


The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the decision-making patterns of nurse practitioners and the relationship between this cognitive process and their personal characteristics and dimensions of employment. Since nurse practitioners are a major group of providers of primary care, they are faced with increasingly complex patient care decisions regarding the health management of these patients. The premise that the decision-making process is influenced by factors within the individual and the work environment formed the basis for this investigation. The determination of the significant relationships among these variables was pursued for the expansion of knowledge and the practical applications in education and career planning of these professionals. Limited research exists concerning the styles of decision-making of nurse practitioners but the need for additional research, although repeatedly articulated, has not been met. The descriptive correlational study sampled 208 nurse practitioners from a four-county region in the southwestern part of the country. Descriptive data relating to the demographics, education, work status, employment setting and perceived disciplinary role alignment were gathered and reported. The Decision Style Inventory (Rowe, 1983) was used to measure the four styles of the cognitive process of decision-making. The independent variables of personality preference types, measured by the MBTI (AV Form), age, experience, education, specialty, faculty discipline and gender, and employment setting were tested for the significance of the relationship. The statistical procedures employed in the analyses were descriptive computations, product moment correlation, multiple regression and analysis of covariance. The identification of significant predictors for each decision style was demonstrated. The behavioral decision style that had been related positively to female professionals in prior research was supported in this investigation. Likewise, personal preferences, experience, education, and specialty of practice were found to have significant relationships with specific decision styles. Three decision-making patterns of nurse practitioners were found to be within the established norms as measured by the DSI. The behavioral decision style demonstrated a mean above the norm. It is anticipated that this knowledge will assist the nurse practitioner in determining future educational and career goals as well as becoming a more efficient and effective health care provider.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access