Prescriptive authority for controlled substances for advanced practice nurses has been a very controversial topic over the past years and continues to be an issue today. Research has shown that nurse practitioners prescribe medications appropriately but that barriers to nurse practitioner’s prescribing practices remain even th o u ^ legal authority has been granted. This descriptive study sought to describe the beliefs of nurse practitioners in the state of Mississippi concerning prescriptive privileges of controlled substances. Erickson, Tomlin, and Swain’s Theory of Modeling and Role-modeling (1983) provided the conceptual framework for this study. The research question asked in this study was as follows; What are the beliefs of nurse practitioners regarding controlled substance prescriptive privileges? A convenience sample of 80 nurse practitioners (Family, Adult, Gerontological, Pediatric, and Ob-Gyn) registered with the Mississippi Board of Nursing were surveyed using the Robertson’s Prescriptive Privilege Survey (RPPS). Responses to the instrument were analyzed using descriptive statistics including frequencies and percentages. Answers to open-ended questions were subjected to content analysis. While 60% of those surveyed would like to have some controlled substance privileges, a majority of nurse practitioners desired to continue to practice with some constraints regarding controlled substances. Nurse practitioners who do not wish to have the privilege to prescribe controlled substances cited issues of liability, responsibility, and competency as reasons not to prescribe. If nurse practitioners did have prescribing privileges, they would utilize them primarily to manage pain, cough, and anxiety for Schedules III, IV, or V Nurse practitioners believed that the inconvenience of not having controlled substance prescribing privileges was mitigated by collaborative physicians’ willingness to prescribe needed schedule drugs. Further research is recommended toexamine the prescribing practices of nurse practitioners in states with controlled substance prescriptive rights and to explore the attitudes and beliefs of physicians regarding controlled substance prescritive rights for nurse practitioners.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Lorraine Hamm

Second Advisor

Jim Davidson

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Pat Curtis

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons