Date of Award

Spring 4-6-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Dr. Michelle Nelson PhD.

Second Advisor

Dr. Lee Eades DNP.


Background: There is a significant shortage of primary care physicians in Georgia, with the greatest needs in rural communities. The evidence suggests that nurse practitioners (NPs) improve the quality of care for patients with chronic diseases and may be the solution to the physician shortage. However, the scope of practice for Georgia NPs is among the most restricted in the United States.

Purpose: This policy review project explored the barriers to full practice authority for nurse practitioners in the state of Georgia and assessed the impact of current policy on NPs opening independent practices in rural Georgia. The goal of the project was to build a consensus for legislative change to current NP scope of practice.

Methodology: A quantitative design was used to collect data from a large nursing organization in Georgia via convenience sampling. One hundred and seventy-nine NPs responded. However, only 135 participants (N=135) consented. Participants completed an online survey in thirty minutes or less. Some questions required free text responses. One-way ANOVA and correlational analysis were used to determine differences between variables. There were no significant differences between NP characteristics (such as race, age, education level, etc) and the likelihood of opening an independent practice.

Results: Most NPs (77%) reported a desire for full scope of practice, 80% believed removal of practice barriers would be an advantage to Georgia NPs, and a significant number said if autonomous practice was granted, they were likely or very likely to open an independent practice in rural Georgia.


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