Nursing decision making was a focus of the Province-Wide Nursing Project (PWNP), a 3-year project to promote best nursing practice. In much of the growing literature on nursing decision making, it is assumed that there are differences in the way RNs and RPNs make decisions. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this assumption. The RN and RPN decision making across settings questionnaire was completed by nurses employed in the 23 agencies of the 4 Participating Complexes taking part in the project. The survey questions were subjected to factor analysis and reduced to five factors. Results revealed measurable differences between the way that RNs and RPNs made decisions. Both RNs and RPNs reported making decisions frequently and experiencing little difficulty in making them. However, there were statistically significant differences in the frequency with which RNs and RPNs perceived they made decisions and the difficulty they found in making them. To plan effective health care, it is important to take account of the strengths of different health care workers. There is a need for further research to investigate the reasons behind the differences revealed in these findings.
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