Scope of Nursing Practice in a Tertiary Pediatric Setting: Associations With Nurse and Job Characteristics and Job Satisfaction

Johanne Déry, Sean P. Clarke, Danielle D'Amour, Régis Blais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: While professional nursing, like other health professions, has a recognized educational base and a legal scope of practice that is remarkably consistent across societies, there are important variations even within the same institution or organization in the extent to which professional nurses engage in the full range of activities for which they are qualified. There has been limited study of enacted (actual) scope of nursing practice (ESOP) or of its impacts on nurse job outcomes, such as job satisfaction. The aim of this study is to measure ESOP, as well as its predictors and impact on job satisfaction, in a specialty university-affiliated tertiary referral center in one of the few remaining jurisdictions outside the United States that continue to educate registered nurses at multiple educational levels. Methods: This was a correlational cross-sectional design using structural equation modeling. Self-administered questionnaires were completed by 301 registered nurses holding permanent positions in specific clinical areas for 6 months or longer in a pediatric hospital in the province of Quebec, Canada. Findings: ESOP or actual scope of practice was low—on average, nurses applied the range of skills within their theoretical scopes of practice only occasionally or “less than frequently” in their daily work (3.21 out of a possible 6 points). ESOP was strongly related to decision latitude (β = 0.319; p =.012), role ambiguity (β = 0.297; p =.011), and role overload (β = 0.201; p =.012). The personal characteristics that exerted the greatest direct influence on ESOP were education level (β = 0.128; p =.015) and growth need strength (β = 0.151; p =.008). Results also showed that ESOP exerts a direct positive influence on nurses’ job satisfaction (β = 0.118; p =.006). Structural equation modeling analyses revealed a good fit of the data to the hypothesized conceptual model (χ²/df ratio index = 1.68, root mean square error of approximation = 0.049, confirmatory fit index = 0.985). Conclusions: Specific aspects of nurses’ jobs are closely related to ESOP. ESOP is limited by certain job and personal characteristics and appears to affect nurses’ job satisfaction. Clinical Relevance: Results suggest that ESOP might be improved by adjusting nursing job characteristics and practice environments and that expanding ESOP increases nurse job satisfaction and may improve other health system outcomes as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


  • Scope of practice
  • job satisfaction
  • nursing administration
  • pediatric setting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


Dive into the research topics of 'Scope of Nursing Practice in a Tertiary Pediatric Setting: Associations With Nurse and Job Characteristics and Job Satisfaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this