Labour saver or building a cohesive interprofessional team? The role of the nurse practitioner within hospitals
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Nurse practitioners (NP) are employed within hospital interprofessional (IP) teams in several countries worldwide. There have been some efforts to describe the nature of the NP role within IP teams largely focussing on how the role may augment care processes. Here, using a constructivist grounded theory approach, the perceptions of NPs about their role were compared and integrated into a previously published team perspective as the second phase of a larger study. Seventeen hospital-based (HB) NPs across Ontario, Canada, participated in group and individual interviews. The NP perspective substantiated and expanded the previously reported team perspective, resulting in an IP perspective. The three practice foci illustrating role value meaning of this perspective became: evolve NP role and advance the specialty, focus on team working, and hold patient care together. The IP perspective, juxtaposed with an existing contingency approach, revealed that NPs were promoting IP work, predominantly at the collaboration and teamwork levels, and aiding IP team transitions to appropriate forms of IP work. The practice, "focus on team working"' was strongly related to promoting IP work. The findings were consistent with HB NPs enacting a role in building IP team cohesiveness rather than merely acting as a labour saver. This is the first study to align NP and team understanding of HB NP role value using an IP framework.
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