Collegiality amongst nurses and nurse practitioners in the acute care setting : a nurse's perspective
Schroder, Heather Ann
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Healthcare is an ever changing entity. With current restructuring and projected physician shortfalls, there is a movement of nurse practitioners into the acute care setting. Little research has been done to examine nurses' perceptions of interactions with nurse practitioners in the acute care setting, and how these perceptions can influence the interpersonal dynamics of the nurse-nurse practitioner relationship. Research has shown that improved collaboration leads to improved collegiality amongst colleagues; which in turn leads to improved patient outcomes. The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine nurses' perceptions of either their observed or actual experiences regarding collaboration, and therefore collegiality, amongst the nurse practitioners they work with in the acute care setting. Additionally, this study investigated whether or not there was a difference in the level of collegiality between a Magnet designated hospital and a non-Magnet designated hospital. The sample was comprised of 222 nursing staff. The Collaboration and Satisfaction about Care Decisions survey was completed by nurses currently employed in two acute care hospitals in a city in the North West. Total collaboration scores were calculated for each participant; scores range from 0 to 56, with 0-18 being non-collaborative, 19-37 being neutral, and 35-56 being collaborative. The mean collaboration score for the sample was 36.91, showing neutral collaboration amongst nurses and nurse practitioners in the acute care setting. The data also showed that there was no difference in collaboration between a Magnet and a non-Magnet designated hospital (0.078 > 0.05). By identifying nursing's perceived level of collaboration, and collegiality with nurse practitioners, institutions would have a platform for which further investigation into and improvement of these relationships can take place. Improvement in the collegiality of nurses and nurse practitioners leads to benefits for both staff and patients. Of significance an unintended result of the study was that 25.3% of nurses were unaware of the difference in practice between nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the acute care setting. This gap in knowledge could have potentially negative future implications for advanced practice nursing.