Advancing Family Practice Nursing in Canada: An Environmental Scan of International Literature and National Efforts towards Competency Development
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Family practice nurses (also known as primary care nurses) are registered nurses who practice in primary healthcare and function as generalists who provide a broad range of health services, including preventative screening, health education, chronic disease management, care coordination, and system navigation. This paper reports on the current state of family practice nursing in Canada and findings from an environmental scan of literature focused on family practice nursing competency development internationally. Overall, there is a lack of clear information regarding the deployment of family practice nurses in Canada and a lack of clarity about their role in primary healthcare teams. Although family practice nurses play a key role within interprofessional primary healthcare teams, the degree to which family practice nurses have been integrated into primary healthcare varies substantially across provinces/territories. Our environmental scan indicates that the development of family practice nursing competencies is occurring internationally. The steps being taken to develop a defined set of national Canadian family practice nursing competencies are described and implications for policy, administration, leadership, education and patients are discussed.
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