Nurse Practitioners and Team-based Care

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) supports the implementation of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) concept of team-based care, defined as:

“... the provision of health services to individuals, families and/or their communities by at least two health providers who work collaboratively, to the extent preferred by each patient. The purpose of Team Based Care is to provide coordinated, high-quality and patient-centered care” (IOM Best Practice Innovation Collaborative, 2012).

Collaboration is defined as the communication, coordination and cooperative efforts of health care professionals around care delivery. Team-based care is a systems approach to care delivery and is not a regulatory construct.

The team concepts of well-communicated care, coordinated information sharing and cooperative partnerships among patients and various health care professionals have always been the foundation of nursing practice. It is the belief of AANP that in systems utilizing coordinated care models, such as team-based care, the following principles apply:

  • The patient is the center of the health care team.
  • Health care teams consist of patients and their health care providers.
  • The health care team does not belong to a single provider, system or health care discipline.
  • The health care team is dynamic, with the needs of the patient directing who best can lead the team at any given point of time.

Characteristics of the health care team include:

  • Patient-identified and –supported goals
  • Mutual trust among all participants
  • Effective communication
  • Measurable processes and outcomes in the provision of health care services

All members of a health care delivery team should practice to the fullest extent of their educational preparation in order to provide high-quality care for patients at the appropriate time and in various settings to meet the patient’s needs and desires. The role of NPs on the health care team will vary, but may include:

  • Advocate
  • Clinician
  • Consultant
  • Educator
  • Evaluator
  • Leader
  • Manager
  • Partner
  • Transformer

AANP acknowledges that health care laws must be modernized and barriers must be removed for health care systems to gain the full benefit from all team members and reach the potential of coordinated team care models. This includes reforming scope of practice laws to conform to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing APRN Model Practice Act and Model Rules and regulations. As in any team, its ultimate success rests on all members performing at their full potential. Research has demonstrated that utilizing NPs at the top of their ability in all settings and health systems improves access, decreases cost and enhances high-quality outcomes.

AANP further believes:

  • The contributions of all health care professions are valuable and essential to positive patient outcomes.
  • Coordinated care delivery comes in many forms.
  • Flexible frameworks are required for innovation and the creation of emerging models to provide high-quality care for diverse populations of patients, families and the community.
  • NP-led teams are one of the available coordinated care delivery models for team-based care.

For further information regarding the participation of NPs as members and leaders of health care teams and the full potential of the NP workforce, visit

Think Tank Participants: Deanna Babb, Mona Counts, Angie Golden, Penny Kaye Jensen, Tay Kopanos, Sean Lyon, Thomas Mackey, Nancy O’Rourke, Julie Stanik-Hutt, Jan Towers, Wendy Wright, Nancy Zaner

© Copyright American Association of Nurse Practitioners 2012
Revised 2013

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