A phenomenological perspective on advanced practice nurse–physician collaboration within an interdisciplinary healthcare team


Jill L. O'Brien, PhD, College of Communication, DePaul University, 2320 N. Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614.
Tel: 773-325-2898; Fax: 773-325-7584;
E-mail: jobrien4@depaul.edu


Purpose: To investigate how advanced practice nurses (APNs) and physicians (MDs) within a multisite nursing home practice perceive and describe their experiences of collaboration in an interdisciplinary team.

Data sources: A phenomenological analysis of in-depth interviews of eight APNs and five MDs working in team practice across multiple nursing homes.

Conclusions: This phenomenological analysis reveals that the lived experience of these professionals affirms four thematic clusters (meaning units) as essential for collaboration: approachability, interpersonal skills, listening, and verbal message skills. However, APNs and MDs diverge in their perceptions of the behaviors currently operative or required to achieve the collaboration components sought. The invariants—that without which a phenomenon cannot be—differ for APNs and MDs.

Implications for practice: Although both parties reference identical terms, when the language is unpacked, different behaviors are sought by APNs and MDs to achieve collaboration. This suggests that discussions concerning collaboration between APNs and MDs should not remain at the level of generalizations wherein apparent agreement might be assumed; instead, focused exchanges must concern specific behaviors in discrete instances.