The Nurse Practitioner Workforce in Western Canada: A Cross-Sectional Practice Analysis Comparison

E. Duff, Richard Golonka, Tammy O’ Rourke, Abeer A. Alraja

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Regular examination of health workforce data is essential given the pace of health system and legislative changes. Health workforce studies pertaining to nurse practitioner (NP) practice are needed to examine the gaps between work activities, policy, human resource supply, or for population needs. Jurisdictional comparison studies can provide essential information about NP practice for governments to respond to health workforce deficiencies or engage in service planning. In Canada, there is limited provincial-territorial jurisdictional NP workforce data to support health planning or policy change. This descriptive cross-sectional study was to examine the similarities and differences in practice patterns of Canadian NPs. In 2016 and 2017, an electronic survey was sent to all 852 registered NPs in three Canadian provinces, yielding a large convenience sample of 375 NP respondents. The results of this study underscore the value of NPs’ extensive registered nurse expertize as well as their ability to serve diverse patient populations, work in varied healthcare settings, and provide care to medically complex patients. The study findings also show that NPs in all three jurisdictions work to their full scope of practice, in both rural and urban settings. This study is the first to compare NP workforce data across multiple Canadian jurisdictions simultaneously. Studies of this type are valuable tools for understanding the demographics, education, integration, and employment activities of NPs and can aid governments in addressing workforce planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalPolicy, Politics, and Nursing Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb. 2022


  • Canada
  • health care planning
  • health workforce
  • nurse practitioner
  • scope of practice


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