The United States has the highest cost of health care in the world. In an effort to control this continually escalating expense, the concept of rationing of health care has been offered as a solution. Health care providers, such as nurse practitioners, will be confronted with making decisions related to the allocation of health care. Thus, the purpose of this descriptive study was to explore the perceptions that nurse practitioners have regarding rationing of health care. Henderson's Model of Nursing served as the theoretical framework. The research question that guided this study was what are the perceptions of nurse practitioners toward rationing of health care? A sample of 7 9 nurse practitioners who practiced in primary care in the state of Mississippi were surveyed. Perceptions were measured using the Baucum Rationing Questionnaire, which contained four vignettes that primary care providers might encounter. Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with situations concerning rationing of health care. Results indicated that of the 315 responses, 224 (79%) did not choose rationing, while 91 (21%) did choose rationing. Seven common themes were identified in the comment section: patient responsibility, prevention, ethics/morality, quality of life, equal access, patlent/family choices, and alternate delivery systems. Based on these findings, the researcher concluded that nurse practitioners' perceptions toward rationing of health care was such that rationing would not be an acceptable means to decrease the expense of health care. Implications for nursing were focused on the need for nurse practitioners to support political activists who lobby for a realignment of health care financing. Additionally, preventive care by nurse practitioners must be accepted as a viable alternative to sick care. Recommendations included implementation of a similar study to substantiate these findings and development of nursing curricula which address health care financing and case management.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Mary Patricia Curtis

Second Advisor

Lynn Chilton

Third Advisor

Carol Thompson

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons