Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 34(3) September 2021 : 63-73.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2021.26592
Nursing Research

Practice Patterns of Nurse Practitioners in a Multi-Site Academic Healthcare Setting

Barbara Bailey, Faith Donald, Marijana Zubrinic, Kelly McNabb and Helen Kelly


Objective: The objective of this paper is to describe the day-to-day activities, known as practice patterns, of nurse practitioners (NPs) across a four-site academic healthcare network in Ontario, which comprises acute, primary, rehabilitation and complex continuing care.

Background: Information regarding NP practice patterns is available from other jurisdictions and practice settings, but information specific to large, urban and multi-site organizations is available to a lesser extent. This information can inform and support leaders' decisions about NP roles and responsibilities.

Method: A cross-sectional online survey was sent to the 125 NPs employed in this healthcare network.

Results: Respondents (n = 45) were primarily experienced, graduate-prepared NPs, who work with specialized populations and support the education of healthcare professional trainees. The majority of these NPs' activities focused on direct and indirect care, with fewer activities centred on leadership/administration, education, research and personal breaks. Clinical care activities varied among NPs and were contextual to the population and program.

Conclusion: While direct and indirect care are vital components of NP practice, the overwhelming emphasis on these components indicates that the organization and the healthcare system are losing opportunities to capitalize on advanced nursing practice knowledge and skills in the domains of leadership, research and education.



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