Facilitators and barriers in implementing the nurse practitioner role in Japan: A cross-sectional descriptive study

Miho Suzuki, Nahoko Harada, Kazuya Honda, Masahide Koda, Tomoko Araki, Takemi Kudo, Takao Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aim: To investigate the distribution of nurse practitioners (NPs) across Japan and their perceived facilitators and barriers to NP implementation in Japan. Background: NP certification examinations have been conducted in Japan since 2011, and by 2020, there were 487 NPs in the country. The momentum of NP implementation is slower in Japan compared with other countries. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study, following the STROBE guidelines, was conducted. Web-based survey questionnaires, developed by the authors, were administered to 248 NPs whose email addresses were maintained by the certification management body. Results: Valid responses were obtained from 101 NPs (response rate: 40.7%), of which 34% were male. The respondents had more than 12 years of registered nurse experience on an average before enrolling in the graduate NP program. 53% were employed as NPs from the beginning, while 25% were initially employed as registered nurses and later advanced to NPs, and 11% still worked as RNs. A majority worked in hospitals with beds. Many NPs perceived the lack of NP national licensure and reimbursement benefits as barriers to NP implementation, whereas recognition from superiors and organizations was considered facilitators. Conclusions: Despite their small numbers in Japan, NPs take on crucial tasks and contribute to the appropriate distribution of medical resources. The NP licensure system and recognition from superiors and organizations may be necessary to promote NP roles in Japan. Implications for nursing and health policy: Some certified NPs still work as registered nurses. Recognition from nursing and organization administrators is critical to implementing NPs. To this end, a reimbursement system benefiting the organizations and a legislation facilitating NP employment are required.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Nursing Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Japan
  • NP certification
  • delivery of health care
  • health policy
  • legislation
  • nurse practitioner
  • recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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