Following the Yellow Brick Road: The Lived Journey of Nurses Becoming Nurse Practitioners
Ogle, Kathleen Theresa
Hultgren, Francine H.
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In this phenomenological study, I explore the lived experiences of registered nurses who become nurse practitioners. Text for this study comes from narrative sources such as reflective writings, one-on-one conversations, and group conversations with seven new nurse practitioners. The guiding question for this inquiry is: "What is the lived journey of nurses who become nurse practitioners?" Phenomenological philosophers such as Heidegger, Gadamer, and Casey guide this work. Other authors are drawn upon for grounding the study and to draw out the phenomenon for examination. The six research activities of van Manen (2003) provide the methodological framework for the research. The "yellow brick road" traveled by the registered nurse to nurse practitioner is the metaphor that has revealed itself as we reflect on the journey. Literature from the disciplines of nursing and education, poetry, and narrative accounts complement the stories told by nurse practitioners and open up new ways to think about the lived experience. Stories are the bricks that form the yellow road that lead us to a new way of being. Nurses who become nurse practitioners experience the journey from school to beginning practice and finally to comfort in the new place. Conversations reveal the meaning of the journey. The webs of support woven with other students are found to be very important. Before reaching the end of the road, many detours are encountered that slow, but never stop, the journey. During this journey new nurse practitioners find that the nurse part of nurse practitioner is as important as the new skills they have learned. At the end of the journey they find that the greatest source of strength is from themselves. Both teacher and students are transformed as we travel together on the path. A call is made for a revolution in nursing curriculum as narrative leads to a new way of teaching and learning. The journey reveals a new way of living curriculum and being with students as mentor and teacher.