Experience of nurse practitioners transitioning into independent practice: a qualitative study
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Objective: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore and describe the role transition of new Nurse Practitioners (NPs) following participation in an internship program with simulated learning to better understand the barriers and facilitators of achieving an autonomous role as an NP. Methods: In a large academic research medical center in Houston, Texas, purposive sampling was used to recruit a sample of 14 acute care NPs who had recently participated in a pre-graduate internship program. Demographic data were collected and in-depth, one-on-one interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Colaizzi’s process for phenomenological data analysis was used. Results: Four themes emerged from the analysis of the interviews: Putting on My NP Shoes, which described the participants’ statements about progression in their new role; We’re Only as Good as We Train, which described the participants’ statements about how NPs are trained to practice compared with other professionals; My Internship Prepared Me, which described how additional education and exposure to an internship program prepared the participants for entry into practice; and Relationships Provided Success, which described the participants’ statements about building collaborative relationships with physicians and staff that impacted their transition. Conclusions: The findings from this phenomenological study will provide knowledge to develop or adapt educational programs for NPs and to further develop internship or postgraduate residency programs for advance practice nurses.