The Transformational Journey of Nurse Practitioners in Acute-Care Settings

Judy Rashotte, Louise Jensen

Abstract


This study explored the nature of the lived experience of being nurse practitioners (NPs) in acute-care settings in Canadian teaching hospitals using hermeneutic phenomenological inquiry guided by van Manen's approach. A total of 26 NPs were interviewed. Data analysis revealed that NPs experienced a transformational journey as they searched for being more, the overarching phenomenon that best characterizes their overall experience, which occurred in the context of being pioneers. Five themes emerged: being called to be more - being more connected, in control, visible, challenged, and able to make more of a difference; being adrift - being disconnected, uncertain, lost, and staying afloat; being an acute-care NP - being competent, confident, comfortable, committed, connected, and content; being pulled to be more - being a wearer of two hats; and being more - being an advanced practitioner. The NP journey reveals the complex, largely invisible experience of being an acute-care NP.

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