Nurse practitioners in Canada: Beginnings, benefits, and barriers


Odette N. Gould, PhD, 49A York Street, Sackville, NB, Canada E4L 1C7. Tel: 506-364-2456; Fax: 506-364-2467;


Purpose: The goal of this qualitative study was to investigate the experiences of nurse practitioners (NPs) 1 year after they were first introduced to a mostly rural Canadian province.

Data sources: Qualitative analyses of individual 45-min interviews with seven of the nine NPs in the province were carried out.

Conclusions: Three main themes of importance were identified. First, a nursing philosophy with a holistic approach was described as being clearly different from medical care. Second, difficulties and barriers encountered in the establishment of the profession in the province were described. Third, despite these barriers, a pioneering outlook characterized by a sense of excitement and pride in the work was expressed.

Implications for practice: For NPs to work effectively to reduce healthcare costs and increase access to health care, they need to be accepted by both the public and the other healthcare professionals. Moreover, it may be difficult for NPs to maintain their philosophy of care in the face of the expectations placed upon them.