Since the inception of the nurse practitioner role, numerous studies have focused on the characteristics of NPs, including their educational preparation, their practice settings, demographic characteristics of clients, cost analysis, and the quality of services within a medical context. The two major conclusions of the majority of these studies have been that the delivery of health care by nurse practitioners has been fully accepted by patients, and that nurse practitioners are competent in the delivery of quality care. A brief historical overview of nurse practitioners is presented; the major methodological and conceptual issues of nurse practitioner research are reviewed. Views on practice issues and nursing theory development are shared, and directions for future nurse practitioner research are explored.
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