Influence of Managed Care on Professional Nursing Practice


Dr. Harrison, University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492. E-mail:



To explore how nurses in one U.S. state perceived that managed care influenced professional nursing in that state. The nursing community is challenged to move with haste in demonstrating, through research, the clinical and economic value that nurses add to cost-effective outcomes.


A Delphi survey in 1996 of a convenience sample of 84 clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) in California.


CNSs and NPs contributed to the list of managed care influences on nursing practice. Fifty-seven (68%) completed the third and final round.


Panelist agreement was the highest for (a) exploring new approaches to providing quality care more cost-effectively, (b) expanding nurse practitioners' rote in primary care, and (c) more effectively partnering with clients in helping them assume greater self-responsibility for their health. Greatest threats were perceived to be hassles involved in seeking authorization for care and responding to payment denials; the tenuous job market for nurses; and encroachment on nursing practice by others.


The findings can assist nurses in states with low managed-care concentration to create their preferred future within health care delivery. A more highly educated nurse workforce will be needed for 21st century health systems in which more care is likely to be delivered outside hospitals.