Tim Watson


The population of America is growing older every year. Thirteen percent of the population is at least 65 years old. Many elders have limited health care choices because fewer physicians are locating their practices in rural areas. Nurse practitioners are now practicing in underserved areas such as rural communities. The purpose of this descriptive exploratory study was to explore baseline knowledge of rural elders concerning the role of nurse practitioners as health care providers. Becker's Health Belief Model was used to guide the research. The research question was as follows: What is rural elders' knowledge of nurse practitioners as health care providers? A convenience sample of 53 elders from Sunday school classes in northeast Mississippi was utilized. Data were obtained using the Davis Acceptance Survey (Revised). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Findings indicated that 77.4% of rural elders in the study were knowledgeable regarding the nurse practitioner role in general. Respondents were more likely to believe that nurse practitioners could provide health maintenance 111 services, such as history taking and referral to physician, and less likely to know that nurse practitioners could treat more serious illnesses, such as high blood pressure and kidney infections. These results indicate that rural elders need additional education about the functional role of the nurse practitioner in primary care. Recommendations for future research include replication of the study using a larger sample size excluding those already studied, including more minorities, using a different a geographical location, and using different data collection instruments.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Lorraine Hamm

Second Advisor

Dr, Lynn Chilton

Third Advisor


Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons