Law & Governance
[This article was originally published in Nursing Leadership, Volume 21, Number 2.]
Timely access to primary healthcare is becoming increasingly difficult for many Canadians. In a healthcare system created for managing acute illness and communicable disease, the complex care that millions of Canadians with chronic illnesses require is not being appropriately managed. The answer is not more healthcare dollars; it's better use of the funding already allocated. The key to delivering accessible, comprehensive and cost-effective care is effective collaboration among health professionals. The nurse practitioner role offers a unique skill set, incorporating health promotion and disease prevention into primary healthcare, complementing the roles of a variety of other health professionals. In spite of increasing interest and commitment to collaboration, numerous barriers remain. Perceived competition, leadership struggles and confusion about the role have hindered collaboration between nurse practitioners and physicians. Increased interest in interprofessional education has given rise to improved awareness and respect for the knowledge of other disciplines, raising hopes that fostering interdisciplinary working relationships will result in better client care. Nurse practitioners must take the lead in increasing the visibility of their role, improving public understanding and fostering collaborative relationships with other health professionals in order to provide the most effective care for Canadians.
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