The Family Health Nurse Practitioner - Innovation & Collaboration

The Family Health Nurse Practitioner – Innovation & Collaboration

Research by: Holly Kennedy-­‐Symonds MHSc, Amra Dizdarevic MSN FHNP, K. B., MSN FHNP, Trisha Stolle, MSN FHNP, Sanda Islik BScN, Beth Donaldson MD, Peter House MD


research_the family health nurse practitioner_innovation and collaboration

The family health nurse practitioner

Family Health Nurse Practitioners (FHNP) are trained in primary care delivery, including the diagnosis and management of common health conditions, in collaborative practice. However these capable practitioners are still under‐employed in primary care and team barriers exist to practice.


To successfully integrate the FHNP role in a novel primary care interdisciplinary team setting as evidenced by team consultation and service demand.

Participants and Methods

Four FHNPs were hired for three clinics. Their role was integrated by design; defining a shared care model with collaborative practice. The care team is defined as the physician, FHNP, RN, RD, Kinesiologist and clinical care coordinator.


With an initial area of focus on pediatric care, this quickly expanded to lifespan, with emphasis on complex care. The care team are able to leverage their expertise to manage their cohort of patients together; improve access, continuity & efficiency. Barriers were eliminated. NP role was clarified. NPs have a scope‐based focus; NPs see a broad‐based primary care patient population and consult & collaborate with the physicians mainly with respect to issues beyond the NP’s scope. An unforeseen benefit has been that physicians are less stressed by having the support of the FHNPs. This has led to increased demand for NP resources.


The FHNPs practicing in a shared care model is successful, as evidenced by service demand and team engagement. This role is effective & efficient, improving access, continuity and quality in primary care; building the overall capacity of the primary care team.

Click here to view the complete poster as presented at APCC 2013, including supporting figures.