Clarifying, affirming, and preserving the nurse in nurse practitioner education and practice


Karen Brykczynski, DNSc, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, UTMB School of Nursing, 301 University Blvd., Galveston, TX 77555-1029. E-mail:


Purpose: This work responds to the need for maintaining an ethic of care in the face of increased demands for cost effectiveness and efficiency. Findings are presented from a qualitative study describing how nurse practitioner (NP) faculty teach NP students about holistic nursing dimensions of NP practice.

Data resources: Data collection consisted of face to face or telephone interviews with 24 experienced NP faculty members teaching in 22 NP programs across the country. Data were analyzed using the interpretive phenomenological approach. Aspects of scientific merit were addressed through reviewing transcripts for accuracy, consensual validation sessions, and member checking.

Conclusions: The most common approaches used for teaching holistic nursing dimensions of NP practice were role modeling and sharing narratives of actual cases. Other approaches included: incorporation of holistic complementary diagnoses along with medical diagnoses into assessments, use of case scenarios and standardized patients, a rite of passage ceremony, and an entire narrative curriculum.

Implications for practice: NP faculty advocate incorporating a holistic mind-body-spirit perspective into assessment and intervention and broadening the diagnostic process to include complementary components of nursing and medicine. Findings have implications for teaching/learning, curriculum planning, and evaluation as NP programs transition from the master's to the doctoral level.