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Nurs Leadersh (Tor Ont). 2006 Mar;19(1):69-85.

Processes of care: comparison between nurse practitioners and physician residents in acute care.

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  • 1Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, ON.


The purpose of this study was to compare the processes of care (performance of role functions, provision of comprehensive care, coordination of services) of acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) and physician residents (PRs) assigned to various medical and surgical programs in acute care settings. A cross-sectional comparative design was used. ACNPs (n = 31) and PRs (n = 10) completed the study questionnaire within two weeks of consenting. Patients who received ACNP care (n = 320) and those who received PR care (n = 46) completed the questionnaire within one week of discharge. The results indicate that ACNPs engaged in management and informal coordination activities more than PRs did, while PRs engaged in more formal coordination activities compared to ACNPs. ACNPs encouraged more patient participation in care and provided more patient education than PRs. These findings, which reflect differences in the processes used by ACNPs and PRs to provide care to patients, could influence the quality and cost outcomes expected of these two groups of healthcare providers.

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