Clinical decision-making, collaboration, curbside consultation, nurse practitioners



  1. Papermaster, Amy NP-C, PhD (Student)


Background: Curbside or informal consultations between clinicians regarding patient care occur frequently in clinical practice. Evaluation of curbside consultation (CC) among nurse practitioners (NPs) is limited.


Purpose: To develop an understanding of NP perceptions of the CC process.


Methodological orientation: A qualitative descriptive design was used to assess the context of CCs among NPs. Inductive content analysis was conducted, and Atlas.ti was used to organize the data.


Sample: Purposive sampling was used to recruit 20 NPs within primary care and specialty settings.


Conclusions: Themes describing CC included the description of the CC process, advantages and disadvantages, documentation, legal liability, unspoken rules, and patient-centered engagement. There was a lack of consensus on the boundaries of the CC definition including difficulty in distinguishing a CC from a formal consultation. Generally, the NP acknowledges limitations and views the CC favorably as a helpful tool for receiving practical feedback and expanding learning, collegiality, and collaboration.


Implications for practice: Findings provide insight regarding the common practice of CC in management of patients at the point of care, what it means to the NP, and a description of the breadth of the CC use. Given its potentially substantial impact on patient care, further assessment of the context of CC among NPs is obligatory.