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Orthop Nurs. 2019 Jan/Feb;38(1):17-24. doi: 10.1097/NOR.0000000000000514.

Nurse Practitioners in Orthopaedic Surgical Settings: A Review of the Literature.

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Brittany G. Spence, BScN, MN, AANP, NP (F), Nurse Practitioner in Orthopaedic Surgery at Burnaby Hospital, British Columbia, Canada. Joanne Ricci, MSN, Senior Lecturer, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada. Fairleth McCuaig, MSN, NP (F), ARNP, FNP-BC, CPHI, Senior Lecturer and NP Program Coordinator, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada.



The purpose of this article was to conduct an extensive literature review of nurse practitioners (NPs) in orthopaedic surgical settings to delineate whether a need exists for NPs in these settings.


Due to physician shortages and changes in healthcare, patients are experiencing difficulty accessing orthopaedic surgeons. To meet this need, NPs are becoming an essential part of the multidisciplinary orthopaedic team in Level 1 trauma hospitals.


Nurse practitioners are qualified and competent to work in a variety of orthopaedic settings including preoperative clinics, primary care orthopaedic clinics, and pre-/postoperative care within the hospital. The benefits of NPs in orthopaedic surgical settings includes increased access to care, improved team communication, decreased length of stay, improved quality of care, and improved patient satisfaction. Moreover, NPs meet patient needs while surgeons are operating, and have a positive impact on resident surgeon education.


A need exists for NPs in orthopaedic surgical settings to both improve access to healthcare for patients and reduce the burden on orthopaedic surgeons.

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