Sustaining Primary Health Care Programs and Services: A Scoping Review Informing the Nurse Practitioner Role in Canada

Raelene Marceau, Kathleen Hunter, Stephanie Montesanti, Tammy O’ Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sustainability is a key concept in the politics and local policy of health care delivery, particularly during discussions on the principles of primary health care (PHC) and health care reform. In Canada, previous reforms in PHC were implemented with the goal of achieving long-term sustainable change in health systems across the country. However, insufficient resources and a changing environment have impeded the sustainability of many PHC programs and services. An example is the nurse practitioner (NP) role, which was introduced in Canada in 1967 but failed to be sustained. In the mid-1990s, in response to a call for PHC reform, the role was reimplemented with the support of government legislation, regulation, and remuneration mechanisms. However, despite evidentiary success of NP role effectiveness and efficiency in Canada’s health system, many barriers toward full implementation of the role continue to exist and sustainability remains at risk. This scoping review was undertaken to inform a research project exploring the closure of an NP clinic in a western Canadian province. The review searched relevant peer-reviewed and gray literature from Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia, to better understand and describe the factors influencing sustainability of the NP role and other PHC programs and services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-119
Number of pages15
JournalPolicy, Politics, and Nursing Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • clinic
  • health care delivery
  • health care reform
  • nurse practitioner
  • primary health care


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