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Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2013 Feb;14(1):6-15. doi: 10.1177/1527154413480889. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Revisiting scope of practice facilitators and barriers for primary care nurse practitioners: a qualitative investigation.

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Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Revisiting scope of practice (SOP) policies for nurse practitioners (NPs) is necessary in the evolving primary care environment with goals to provide timely access, improve quality, and contain cost. This study utilized qualitative descriptive design to investigate NP roles and responsibilities as primary care providers (PCPs) in Massachusetts and their perceptions about barriers and facilitators to their SOP. Through purposive sampling, 23 NPs were recruited and they participated in group and individual interviews in spring 2011.The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Data were analyzed using Atlas.ti 6.0 software, and content analysis was applied. In addition to NP roles and responsibilities, three themes affecting NP SOP were: regulatory environment; comprehension of NP role; and work environment. NPs take on similar responsibilities as physicians to deliver primary care services; however, the regulatory environment and billing practices, lack of comprehension of the NP role, and challenging work environments limit successful NP practice.


advanced nursing practice; nursing/health-care workforce issues; regulation of nursing practice

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