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Nursing Research:
doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000021
Feature Articles

Deriving Consensus on the Characteristics of Advanced Practice Nursing: Meta-summary of More Than 2 Decades of Research

Hutchinson, Marie; East, Leah; Stasa, Helen; Jackson, Debra

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Background: Over recent decades, there has been considerable research and debate about essential features of advanced nursing practice and differences among various categories of advanced practice nurses.

Objectives: This study aimed to derive an integrative description of the defining characteristics of advanced practice nursing through a meta-summary of the existing literature.

Methods: A three-phase approach involved (a) systematic review of the literature to identify the specific activities characterized as advanced practice nursing, (b) qualitative meta-summary of practice characteristics extracted from manuscripts meeting inclusion criteria; and (c) statistical analysis of domains across advanced practice categories and country in which the study was completed. A descriptive framework was distilled using qualitative and quantitative results.

Results: Fifty manuscripts met inclusion criteria and were retained for analysis. Seven domains of advanced nursing practice were identified: (a) autonomous or nurse-led extended clinical practice; (b) improving systems of care; (c) developing the practice of others; (d) developing/delivering educational programs/activities; (e) nursing research/scholarship; (f) leadership external to the organization; and (g) administering programs, budgets, and personnel. Domains were similar across categories of advanced nursing practice; the domain of developing/delivering educational programs/activities was more common in Australia than in the United States or United Kingdom.

Discussion: Similarity at the domain level was sufficient to suggest that advanced practice role categories are less distinct than often argued. There is merit in adopting a more integrated and consistent interpretation of advanced practice nursing.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


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