Nurses, whether registered nurses (RNs) or nurse practitioners (NPs), are becoming key providers of primary care services. While evidence for the influence of NPs on patient experience in primary care is mounting, this is less so for RNs. We use the Canadian component of the international Quality and Costs of Primary Care 2013/14 survey to investigate the mechanisms by which nurses can affect patients' experience in primary care, focusing on accessibility and appropriateness of care. The data allow us to distinguish between family practice RNs, specialised RNs and NPs, and covers all types of patients visiting a primary care clinic in a variety of contexts in all Canadian provinces. In addition to the types of nurses and full-time equivalent (FTE) numbers, we explore the role of nurse autonomy and collaboration. Our regression results show that one of the most important predictors of patient experience is the collaboration between health professionals, whereas nurse staffing in terms of FTE numbers has little influence by itself. Different types of nurses influence different dimensions of accessibility, and the association between patient experience and nurse staffing depends on the number of physicians in the clinic. Our results can inform decision-makers on how to strengthen primary care provision, and particularly in Canadian context, the adaptation of the recently implemented interprofessional primary care teams.

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Keywords Accessibility, Appropriateness, Canada, Nurse practitioners, Primary care, Registered nurses
Persistent URL
Journal Health Policy
Ammi, M, Ambrose, S. (Sarah), Hogg, B. (Bill), & Wong, S. (Sabrina). (2017). The influence of registered nurses and nurse practitioners on patient experience with primary care: Results from the Canadian QUALICO-PC study. Health Policy, 121(12), 1215–1224. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2017.09.019