Success indicators and barriers to acute nurse practitioner role implementation in four Ontario hospitals

AACN Clin Issues. 2001 Aug;12(3):424-37. doi: 10.1097/00044067-200108000-00010.


Changes in healthcare environmental factors resulted in the introduction of the acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) role in Ontario. The purpose of the study was to identify success indicators, barriers, and recommendations for role implementation to assist healthcare providers to develop strategies for integrating ACNPs into teams. Acute care nurse practitioners (n = 14), physicians (n = 14), administrators (n = 12), and staff nurses (n = 48) from four tertiary care hospitals completed a researcher-developed, self-administered questionnaire with fixed and open-ended questions. Specialty practice areas (cardiac/critical care, geriatrics, and nephrology) were matched within the four sites. Acute care nurse practitioners (n = 14), physicians (n = 12), administrators (n = 8), and staff nurses (n = 34) responded. The major indicator by all groups for successful role implementation was level of preparation. Barriers included lack of mentorship and knowledge of the role, and perceived lack of support from administration and physicians. Themes reflecting impact on patient care were improved communication and attention to patient care issues. Respondents accepted the role, concluding that enhanced continuity of care was a result. Role clarity before and during implementation would assist team members in understanding the purpose and value of the role, thus easing the integration of the ACNP into the healthcare team.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Health Facility Environment
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Nurse Practitioners*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Ontario
  • Organizational Innovation*
  • Pilot Projects