Integrating nurse practitioners into Canadian emergency departments: a qualitative study of barriers and recommendations

CJEM. 2007 Jul;9(4):275-81. doi: 10.1017/s1481803500015165.


Objective: The objective of this study was to identify the facilitators and barriers associated with integrating nurse practitioners (NPs) into Canadian emergency departments (EDs) from the perspectives of NPs and ED staff.

Methods: We conducted 24 semi-structured interviews with key multidisciplinary stakeholders in 6 Ontario EDs to gain a broad range of perspectives on implementation issues. Data were analyzed using a grounded-theory approach.

Results: Qualitative analysis of the interview data revealed 3 major issues associated with NP implementation: organizational context, role clarity and NP recruitment. Organizational context refers to the environment an NP enters and involves issues related to the ED culture, physician reimbursement system and patient volume. Role clarity refers to understanding the NP's function in the ED. Recruitment issues are associated with attracting and retaining NPs to work in EDs. Examples of each issue using respondent's own words are provided.

Conclusions: Our study identified 3 issues that illustrate the complex issues involved when implementing NPs in EDs. The findings may inform policy makers and health care professionals in the future development of the role of NPs in Canadian EDs.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Job Description
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Nurse Practitioners*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Ontario
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Workforce