Collaboration among registered nurses and practical nurses in acute care hospitals: A scoping review

Jane Moore, Dawn Prentice, Joanne Crawford, Sara Lankshear, Jacqueline Limoges, Karen Rhodes

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Aim: This study examined the extent, range, and nature of registered nurse (RN) and practical nurse (PN) collaboration in acute care hospitals and identified research gaps in the existing literature. Background: Optimal patient care requires collaboration between RNs and PNs. A lack of unity and unresolved tension among different types of nurses influences collaboration and has significant implications on practice and the organizations where nurses work. Methods: Using Arksey and O’Malley's (2005) framework, a scoping review was undertaken to answer the research question: what is known from the existing literature about the structures, processes, and outcomes of RN-PN collaboration in hospitals?. Results: Twenty-nine studies were included with the majority coming from North America. Donabedian's model assisted with the identification of three themes: scope of practice, interpersonal skills, and nurse and patient-related outcomes. Conclusion: The findings demonstrate there is a paucity of research specific to RN-PN collaboration. Nurse administrators/managers play an important role in addressing the interpersonal skills of nurses and providing an ongoing education on collaboration in the practice setting. Additional studies should focus on the development of nursing collaborative practice models of patient care, the examination of interventions to improve RN-PN collaborative practice, and the assessment of outcomes relating to collaboration among nurses.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)376-385
    Number of pages10
    JournalNursing forum
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • collaboration
    • practical nurse (PN)
    • registered nurse (RN)
    • scoping review
    • teamwork


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