A trial of nurse practitioner scope of practice

Gardner, Anne and Gardner, Glenn 2005, A trial of nurse practitioner scope of practice, Journal of advanced nursing, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 135-145, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2004.03273.x.

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Title A trial of nurse practitioner scope of practice
Author(s) Gardner, Anne
Gardner, Glenn
Journal name Journal of advanced nursing
Volume number 49
Issue number 2
Start page 135
End page 145
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2005
ISSN 0309-2402
Keyword(s) acute care nursing
nurse practitioner
scope of practice
Summary Aims. The aim of this paper is to report a trial to investigate the feasibility of the nurse practitioner role in local health service delivery and to provide information about the educational and legislative requirements for nurse practitioner practice.

Background. Nurse practitioners have been shown to offer a beneficial service and fill a gap in health care provision. However, the lack of publications describing, critiquing, or defending the way that existing nurse practitioner roles have been developed may lead to a lack of clarity in comparing the nurse practitioner scope of practice internationally. In Australia, credible exploratory research is needed to realize the potential of nurse practitioners to bridge the divide of inequitable distribution of health services. A trial of nurse practitioner services in the Australian Capital Territory provided an excellent opportunity to investigate these scope and continuity issues.

Methods. This was an observational analytic study using multiple data sources. Four models of nurse practitioner service were chosen from a competitive field of applications that were evaluated according to efficacy, feasibility, and sustainability across specified selection criteria. Each model in the trial included a clinical support team, with the nurse practitioner candidate 'working-into-the-role' and collecting demographic, clinical practice, patient outcome, and health service and consumer survey data over a 10 month period.

Findings. The trial identified the broad potential of the nurse practitioner role, its breadth and limitations, and its impact on selected health services in the Australian Capital Territory. Data from individual models were compared highlighting generic elements, and formed the basis for the development of the scope of practice for the Australian Capital Territory nurse practitioner models.

Conclusions. This study has validated a research-based, iterative process for initial development of nurse practitioner scope of practice for any Australian specialization. Importantly, the study concluded with the scope of practice as a finding, rather than commencing with it a priori. Although general areas of health care need and under-servicing were identified at the outset, the process tested both the expansion and parameters of the roles.
Notes Submitted for publication 2 May 2003 Accepted for publication 30 April 2004
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2004.03273.x
Field of Research 111003 Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30003104

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Nursing and Midwifery
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