Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Kim VanDerLinden

Second Supervisor

Loretta Quigley


The rapid changes in the health care industry have created a significant increase in the number of nurse practitioners (NPs) as primary care providers. The significant increase in the need for NPs has challenged the providers of advanced nursing programs to meet educational needs and to keep abreast with the number of changes in the scope of practice. As a result, the role of nurse practitioners continues to develop in areas which will affect the care provided to patients and the application of a holistic philosophy of care by the nurse. Understanding the lived experiences of NPs facing this role transition can provide data for nurses, patients, and educational programs. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the experiences of practicing nurse practitioners in the primary care provider role and their ability to apply holistic practices. The methodology used was semi-structured interviews. After the data was collected, coded, and analyzed three findings emerged. The first finding indicated nurse practitioners’ value and strive to provide holistic health care yet do not provide spiritual care. The second finding indicated the participants saw the current health care system as broken. Specific examples were conflicts related to working in a medical model of care, limited time and high productivity expectations, and the need of additional evidence-based research supportive of holistic health care. The final outcome presented the impact upon NPs of professional burnout and unexpected patient expectations. It should be noted at the conclusion of every interview the participants expressed feelings of hope and a bright future for their profession as it evolves and grows.

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