Although workforce diversity has been cited as an important workforce issue, the contemporary U.S. nurse practitioner (NP) workforce is dominated by females. Provider diversity, specifically gender, has been found to directly influence patient preference. However, lack of gender diversity in the NP workforce has never been specifically evaluated in terms of job satisfaction and patterns of care.
The purpose of this study was to assess and evaluate NP gender, job satisfaction and practice patterns of care for U.S. clinical NPs.
This study used the 2012 National Sample Survey of Nurse Practitioners (NSSNP). Participants meeting inclusion criteria totaled 8,978 NPs, of which 92.8% were female.
Although overall job satisfaction was not shown to be significantly different between genders, several patterns of care were found to be significant. Of the 11 measured patterns of care in the NSSNP, six were significantly different between genders, with a female majority indicating that they performed these services most often. In only one rendered service, performed medical procedures, did male NPs indicate that they did more than females.
Implications for practice:
This study suggests the importance of a gender-diversified U.S. nurse practitioner workforce. This is indicated by differences highlighted in patterns of care by NP gender, which has been postulated to influence patient outcomes, including perceived quality of care and engagement in the health care process. Patient preferences for same-gender NPs, particularly patients with privacy issues, warrant further exploration.