Aims and objective: To gain insight into nurse practitioners’ (NP) leadership roles in Dutch hospital care, by exploring the perceptions regarding their current leadership role and the differences with their previous role as a registered specialised nurse. Background: To meet today's challenges of the increasing healthcare demands, the employment of NPs is proliferating. NPs have the ideal position to play a pivotal role within healthcare reforms, yet full expansion of their scope of practice and expertise is having limited success. Long-term sustainability of NPs depends on the ability to perform and develop a leading role. Design and methods: This qualitative descriptive study was conducted in fifteen Dutch hospitals. Data were collected from April–July 2018, and purposive sampling was used for eighteen semi-structured interviews. This study is conducted and reported according to the COREQ checklist. Results: Three main themes concerning NPs’ current leadership role emerged, and they were all linked to a successful positioning of NPs. All themes seemed to be of influence on NPs’ scope of daily practice. Direct patient care was emphasised, and leadership on other levels appeared to be underused. Most NPs desired to reshape their profession. However, unprofitable use of their leadership skills especially on professional and organisational level and lack of supportive factors seemed to hinder them. Conclusions: An adequate use of leadership is crucial for role development and positioning of NPs. Further development of the NP profession can help to better differentiate between the tasks of registered specialised nurses and NPs. Relevance to clinical practice: Leadership in nursing contributes to the improvement of the quality and efficiency of health care. Further positioning of the NP profession depends on a profitable use of leadership competencies. Besides, NPs should collaborate with healthcare organisations, educational institutions and professional associations to value the NP profession in the current healthcare system.

Additional Metadata
Keywords advanced practice nursing, barriers, facilitators, leadership, nurse practitioner's role, qualitative research, registered specialised nurse
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocn.15105, hdl.handle.net/1765/122677
Journal Journal of Clinical Nursing
Citation
van Kraaij, J. (Julia), van Oostveen, C. (Catharina), Vermeulen, H, Heinen, M. (Maud), Huis, A, Adriaansen, M. (Marian), & Peters, J.W.B. (2019). Nurse practitioners’ perceptions of their ability to enact leadership in hospital care. Journal of Clinical Nursing. doi:10.1111/jocn.15105