The tortuous journey of introducing the Nurse Practitioner as a new member of the healthcare team: a meta-synthesis


  • Anna-Carin Andregård RN, CNS, MSc,

    Nurse Practitioner
    1. Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Nursing Science, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
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  • Eva Jangland RN, CNS, PhD

    Senior Lecturer, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
    • Correspondence to:

      Dr Eva Jangland, Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University, Entrance 70, Uppsala University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


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The aim of this study was to explore the obstacles to and the opportunities for achieving optimal interprofessional team collaboration with the introduction of the nurse practitioner (NP). A team approach can contribute importantly to sustainable and safe patient care, and NPs have been added to the healthcare team in many countries. Following the international trend towards the development of the acute care NP, the role has recently been initiated in surgical care in Sweden. The introduction of an advanced nursing role into existing organisations raises questions about how the role will be developed and what its effects will be on collaboration between the different professions. We conducted a systematic review of qualitative studies using the meta-ethnographic approach developed by Noblit and Hare. Literature in the field of nursing was searched on PubMed and CINAHL, and empirical qualitative studies from outpatient and inpatient care in seven countries were included. The studies were appraised according to national guidelines and templates and were analysed and synthesised according to the meta-ethnographic approach. A total of 26 studies were included in the synthesis. The analysis revealed four themes: (i) a threat to professional boundaries, (ii) a resource for the team, (iii) the quest for autonomy and control, and (iv) necessary properties of a developing interprofessional collaboration. Based on these themes, the synthesis was created and presented as a metaphorical journey. The implementation of a new nursing role in a traditional healthcare team is a complex process influenced by many factors and can be described as “a tortuous journey towards a partially unknown destination”. The synthesised obstacles and opportunities drawn from international studies may help healthcare organisations and new NPs prepare for, and optimise, the implementation of a new nursing role.