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Investigating characteristics of collaboration between nurse practitioners and medical practitioners in primary healthcare: a mixed methods multiple case study protocol

Authors

  • Verena Schadewaldt MHSc RN,

    PhD Candidate, Corresponding author
    1. Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
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  • Elizabeth McInnes MPH PhD,

    Associate Professor & Deputy Director
    1. Nursing Research Institute, Australian Catholic University, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Janet E. Hiller MPH PhD FPHAA,

    Associate Dean of Health Sciences (Research) & Professor of Public Health, Adjunct Professor
    1. Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
    2. School of Population Health, University of Adelaide, Australia
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  • Anne Gardner MPH PhD RN

    Professor of Nursing, Adjunct Professor
    1. Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
    2. James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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Abstract

Aim

To investigate characteristics of collaboration between nurse practitioners and medical practitioners in the primary healthcare setting in Australia.

Background

Recent definitions of collaboration in the literature describe it as being based on communication, shared decision-making and the respect and equality of team members. However, research demonstrates a tension between this theoretical ideal and how collaboration between nurse practitioners and medical practitioners occurs in practice. Different socialization processes of the two professions and legislative requirements influence collaborative practice. The way these two professions overcome traditional boundaries and realize collaborative practice in the primary healthcare setting needs to be examined.

Design

Mixed methods multiple case study including up to six sites with a minimum of six and a maximum of 20 participants in total.

Methods

Data on collaborative practice between nurse practitioners and medical practitioners in primary health care will be collected in three phases: (1) two-week direct observation in the practice setting to capture actual behaviour and context; (2) questionnaire to measure dimensions of collaboration; and (3) one-to-one semi-structured interviews with nurse practitioners, medical practitioners and practice managers to record experiences, perceptions and understanding of collaboration.

Discussion

Triangulation of findings will generate a comprehensive understanding of how collaboration between nurse practitioners and medical practitioners in Australia occurs in the primary care setting. The results of this study will inform nurse practitioners, medical practitioners practice managers and policy makers on successful models of collaboration.

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