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Nurse practitioner role transition: A concept analysis

MacLellan, Lorna RN, MN, MNP1; Levett-Jones, Tracy RN, BN, DipAppSc, MEd & Work, PhD (Nursing)1; Higgins, Isabel RN, AssDipNurseEd, MN, PhD1

Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: July 2015 - Volume 27 - Issue 7 - p 389–397
doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12165

Background: Transitioning from registered nurse to nurse practitioner (NP) can be challenging personally and professionally. Insight into transition experiences may help validate the experiences of new NPs and provide greater understanding of the challenges faced during their professional journey.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to report a concept analysis of transition from registered nurse to NP. The article provides new knowledge, understanding, and clarity about the concept of transition.

Data sources: Walker and Avants’ framework for concept analysis was used to identify the attributes, antecedents, and consequences of the concept. A literature review of refereed journals was undertaken. Model cases from an ethnographic study conducted in Australia provide real life examples of the attributes of transition.

Conclusions: Transitioning to the role of NP is complex and dependent on the individual and the attitudes of healthcare colleagues. Change and adaptation are required of both the NP and members of the healthcare team. Failure to adapt by either party undermines the potential for NPs to deliver improved health care.

Implications for practice: Mentorship along with a nurturing environment may be effective strategies for increasing the NP's self-confidence and ensuring a smooth and successful transition period.

1School of Nursing & Midwifery, Faculty of Health, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

(Senior Lecturer)


Received: 25 August 2013; accepted: 11 March 2014

Published online 4 September 2014.

Correspondence Lorna MacLellan, RN, MN, MNP, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Faculty of Health, The University of Newcastle, Ourimbah Campus, PO Box 127 Ourimbah, NSW 2258, Australia.Tel: +61–24349–4536 (office), +61–417499027 (mobile); Fax: +61–24349–4538; E-mail:

© 2015 American Association of Nurse Practitioners
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