Defining the Role of Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners in Rural Nova Scotia

Ruth Martin-Misener, Sandra M. Reilly, Ardene Robinson Vollman

Abstract


This article reports on a mixed methods study to define the role of nurse practitioners (NPs) in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, by collecting the perceptions of rural health board chairpersons and health-care providers. Qualitative data were collected in telephone interviews with health board chairpersons. Quantitative data were collected in a survey of NPs, family physicians, public health nurses, and family practice nurses. The authors describe participants' perspectives on the health needs of rural communities, the gaps in the current model of primary health care services, the envisaged role of NPs in rural communities, and the facilitators of and barriers to NP role implementation. Optimizing the benefits of the NP role for residents of rural communities requires attention to the barriers that impede deployment and integration of the role.

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