Factors Influencing Political Self-Efficacy And Political Astuteness in Undergraduate Nurse Educators
Aldridge, Michael D.
College of Natural and Health Sciences; School of Nursing, Nursing Education
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
The profession of nursing, 3.9 million strong, continues to lag in taking an active role in the development of health policy. Reasons for that include lack of time, a lack of knowledge, and perceived competence of political action. The factors of knowledge and the related perceived competence, or in the case of this study, self-efficacy, could be improved through education. To that end, it was important to identify if nurse educators had the political astuteness, or knowledge, and self-efficacy. If not, how would nurses learn the necessary skills and gain confidence to be more active politically? The purpose of this study was to describe the political astuteness and political self-efficacy in undergraduate nurse educators and explore the possible correlation between political astuteness and political self-efficacy in the nurse educator. Additionally, the possible correlation between demographic factors and political self-efficacy was explored. The political self-efficacy is an indirect measure of the nurse educator’s ability to teach health policy to undergraduate nursing students. This descriptive study measured the political self-efficacy and political astuteness of nurse educators using two instruments. The Teacher Political Self-Efficacy-Modified scale (TPSE-M) and the Political Astuteness Inventory (PAI). Demographic data were also collected. Bandura’s (1997) self-efficacy theory framed the study. A random sample of 149 nurse educators from across the United States participated in this study. Data were reviewed visually for errors and missing data. The data were then exported to SPSS, with 132 participants included in the full analysis. The results of both the TPSE and the PAI showed low to mid-levels of astuteness and political self-efficacy. Having completed a health policy course in graduate school increased the educators’ knowledge as measured by the PAI. The results also supported Bandura’s theory (1997) with nurse educators belonging to professional organizations scoring higher in self-efficacy, likely through a degree of vicarious learning and encouragement from peers within those organizations. Additionally, there was a strong correlation of .739 between the results of the PAI and the TPSE in this population. The main implication of this study was that many nurse educators do not have the knowledge or self-efficacy to be politically active and therefore are unlikely to be able to pass this knowledge and skill to new nurses. Nurse educators who teach this content have a responsibility to increase both their knowledge and self-efficacy. College leadership, including directors and deans, must evaluate their current faculty for the knowledge and skills of health policy and advocacy just as they would for the knowledge and skills of any other specialty. Steps toward increasing those health policy skills and self-efficacy could include providing time and compensation for classes in health policy in addition to encouraging political advocacy by their faculty as service, compensated through the faculty evaluation process. Improving the knowledge and skills of the faculty might also improve the PAI and self-efficacy related to health policy of new nursing graduates.
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