Integrating Nurses into the Primary Care Setting in Newfoundland & Labrador: The Development of Core Competencies for Family Practice Nurses
Across Canada, there is an array of patient care and health system issues that impact access to care and continuity of care such as the high prevalence of chronic diseases, high physician turnover in rural communities, and the majority of primary care being delivered by physicians alone. Family practice (FP) nursing represents a feasible and affordable solution to address these issues. As team-based models of primary care emerge across the country, the number of family practice nurses employed in this setting is likely to increase. When nurses are optimally supported within healthcare teams, health outcomes and patient access to primary healthcare services have been greatly improved. Establishing a set of family practice nursing competencies will facilitate the integration of nurses into primary care teams. Therefore, the purpose of this project was to bring together key public stakeholders with a range of expertise, knowledge and experience in family practice nursing to a project planning meeting to establish a systematic approach to develop core family practice nurse competencies to support the integration of nurses into primary care.
In May 2017, a project planning meeting with an expert team of key stakeholders was conducted in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The 1-day meeting included a few presentations and keynote speakers, as well as various activities that directly engaged the participants in dialogue surrounding family practice nursing competency development. Stakeholders in attendance included the Canadian Family Practice Nurses Association, Canadian Nurses Association, academic experts, government and nursing regulatory body representatives, and front-line practicing nurses.
As a result of this meeting, a national research team was formed (comprised of meeting participants and others) and is currently developing funding applications to support activities related to the development of family practice nursing competencies in Canada. The specific research activities required to attain this goal identified at the meeting are being incorporated into the funding applications. Another beneficial outcome was the opportunity for key public stakeholders to develop new and/or strengthen existing relationships and engage in dialogue surrounding the topic of integrating nurses into the primary care setting and optimizing their roles within a team-based model of care in the delivery of high-quality care to the public. This project has set the foundation for family practice nursing competency development and future collaboration opportunities related to research or other public engagement activities.