The purpose of this study was to obtain physicians' opinions concerning the registered nurse's role and ideal characteristics. A review of literature was done and a pilot study was conducted. The descriptive survey method was used. The opinions of seventy-one internists on the staffs of two hospitals connected with a church related university were; obtained through use of a questionnaire. Analysis of the data was made by computer, by counts and by an item analysis. Forty-one of the physicians in the study were graduates of the school of medicine of the selected university and were Seventh-day Adventist in religious belief. Twenty-one functions, adapted from a statement made by the American Nurses Association received ratings from neutral to strong! agreement that each should be a function of the registered nurse. There was no strong group disagreement with any of the listed functions, although individual opinions varied considerably. When asked to choose the five of these functions they considered most important, the population chose the following, in order of most importance: checking doctors' orders and being sure they were carried out; observing and reporting symptoms and reactions; giving medications and treatments as ordered by the physician; assisting the physician with examinations, procedures and treatments; and supervising non-professional personnel. The ten characteristics considered most important were chosen by the population from a list of 25 given in the questionnaire. They were, in order of importance: enjoys nursing, seems happy; honest; well-trained; efficient and orderly; follows orders very carefully; observant; intelligent; professional in attitude, appearance and conduct; anticipates patients' needs; and warm, kind, and gentle. Factors judged to show preference for an education limited to nursing, dependence upon the physician and physician or function-centeredness in the nurse showed high positive correlations between factors and were preferred by the population to factors judged to show preference for a broad education, independence from the physician and patient-centeredness in the nurse. Factors found to significantly influence physicians' opinions regarding the nurse's role and ideal characteristics were: the age of the physician. graduation from the selected university, and Seventh-day Adventist religious belief. It was concluded that the role of the nurse, as seen by the majority or the physicians in the study, was that of helping the physician carry out his medical programs for the patient as efficiently as possible. A kindly personality and concern for the patients' comfort and needs were considered important; but secondary. Training in nursing procedures was considered more important than a broader education for the nurse. Recommendations for improving I understanding between physicians and nurses and recommendations for further study were made.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Matilda Anabelle Mills

Second Advisor

Winifred McCormack Edwards

Third Advisor

Deryck Richard Kent

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Role; Nurses



Page Count

x; 192

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives