Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Cheryl Forchuk


Nurse practitioner (NP) roles within hospital teams are evolving worldwide. However, understanding of their practice within the context of interprofessional (IP) teamwork remains limited. This two-phase study undertaken within Ontario, Canada provides a new multi-perspective understanding of the value of NP practice within IP hospital teams. Constructivist grounded theory, a modification of the classic methodology, guided an interpretive approach based in exploration of process and meaning construction, privilege and power exposure, and juxtaposition with extant theory. A conceptual rendering of NP practice was determined through supplemental analysis of 30 team member focus groups. This new perspective emerged as three practice foci: easing others’ workload, holding patient care together, and evolving practice. Phase two substantiated and expanded the team member rendering through exploration of perceptions of 17 hospital-based (HB) NPs, exposure of privilege and power influences, and congruence with theoretical aspects of IP teamwork and collaboration. The study offers four new discoveries: a team perspective framework of HB NP practice, dimensions of the HB NP role position within hospital teams, explanation of why HB NP role clarity remains elusive, and an emerging theory of HB NP IP practice. The emerging theory illuminates three practice foci that are distinct yet hold relationships of interest: evolving NP role and advancing the specialty, focus on team working, and holding patient care together. The emerging theory provides understanding of HB NP actions deemed of value within IP teams and identifies the HB NP role as pivotal in promoting IP work. The study provides pragmatic and useful new knowledge that is of interest to NPs, healthcare providers, hospital leaders, and academics. The categories provide foci that may aid in assessing needs, envisioning role enactment or change, and considering role outcome measures. Sub-categories emphasize how HB NPs can practice to the full extent of their value, including promotion of IP practice. Privilege and power awareness may aid in effective role integration and conflict resolution. The emerging theory provides a new perspective to enhance NP curricula. Further research may use or test the framework to continue building knowledge of this expanded nursing role.

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