When asked to put a mental picture to the word nurse, the image people see is often far removed from the image nurses wish to project. Many see nurses as the handmaidens to physicians, wearing white caps and stockings, and surrendering their chairs to physicians. Others see unflattering images from the media. Nursing’s tarnished image is partially responsible for a perception of oppression in nursing. Much of nursing’s image problem relates to how nurses perceive and use power. Regardless of how nurses perceive power, it is through power that advanced practice nurses (APNs) will be acknowledged as members of a profession versus an occupation. With a better understanding of power, APNs may be able to improve their use of power to advance the profession. This article presents and discusses power through a review of the literature in order to better understand the term as it applies to advanced practice nursing.

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