Physicians' perceptions of nurse practitioners and collaboration
MacDonald, Jane A. T.
The nurse practitioner is a relatively new member of the health care team in Manitoba. A collection of agencies have worked both independently and mutually since the mid 1990s to formally implement the nurse practitioner role. Manitoba Health, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Manitoba Association of Registered Nurses, College of Physicians and Surgeons and University of Manitoba Faculty of Nursing have all been involved. While it is envisioned that the nurse practitioner role will mesh with the physician role in a collaborative relationship, a paucity of literature exists that examines physicians' perceptions of nurse practitioners and collaboration with nurse practitioners. This qualitative project explored physicians' knowledge of nurse practitioners and perceptions of collaboration with nurse practitioners. Focus group discussions with eleven physicians (8 resident physicians and 3 faculty physicians) were conducted to develop an understanding of their knowledge and perceptions. Both resident and faculty physicians had specific, yet largely contrasting concerns about the nurse practitioner role, which subsequently influenced their perceptions of collaboration with nurse practitioners. Resident physicians tended to accept the nurse practitioner role but were restrictive in terms of responsibilities and capabilities. Faculty physicians tended to view the nurse practitioner role and collaboration without limitations but very much dependent on the individual nurse practitioner and his/her background, personality and ability. It is hoped that the findings of this project will contribute to the body of knowledge about physician and nurse practitioner collaboration. Additionally, themes emanating from this project may guide future discussions between the disciplines with respect to nurse practitioners and collaboration with nurse practitioners.