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Exploring conceptual and theoretical frameworks for nurse practitioner education: a scoping review protocol

Wilson, Rosemary; Godfrey, Christina M; Sears, Kim; Medves, Jennifer; Ross-White, Amanda; Lambert, Natalie

Author Information
JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports: October 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 10 - p 146-155
doi: 10.11124/jbisrir-2015-2150
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This scoping review will adopt the methodology for JBI scoping reviews as described in the 2015 JBI Reviewers’ Manual.19,20

Inclusion criteria

Types of participants

This review will consider studies that include nurse practitioners in any specialty or the education of nurse practitioners in any specialty at the graduate or post-graduate level.

Phenomena of interest

In this review, we will consider documents that describe or evaluate frameworks, maps or conceptual structures for NP education at the graduate degree or post-graduate degree level. Literature that presents a framework for the graduate education of students in other health care disciplines at the university level will also be considered for inclusion. Frameworks for utilization in other jurisdictions (e.g. Provincial and Territorial regulatory frameworks) and metrics that assist in measuring, describing and organizing key concepts required for nurse practitioner education will be examined. Outcomes of interest for this review will include framework components in either narrative or illustrative form.


This scoping review will consider studies that have been conducted in the provision of graduate level education of students in health care disciplines. Specific contextual focus will be directed to identify frameworks for educational programming for nurse practitioner students. Frameworks for curriculum development and/or delivery in other disciplines will also be considered.

Types of studies

In this review we will consider research papers of any kind, position statements, framework presentations and policy documents from governments or professional bodies. Documents will be limited to English and French language, but will not be limited otherwise. We will consider any literature that presents a framework for Nurse Practitioners in any specialty, as well as graduate education students in health care disciplines at the university level.

Search strategy

An initial search strategy has already been developed to find both published and unpublished studies. An initial limited search of Medline and CINAHL will be undertaken followed by an analysis of the text words and subject words contained in the titles and abstracts of each of the initial articles. A second search will be conducted identifying all keywords and index terms mined from this initial set of results, as well as to identify additional databases that should be searched. Thirdly, the reference lists of all included reports and articles will be hand-searched for additional results and to confirm the sensitivity of the original search strategy. The following databases and search engines will be included: CINAHL, MEDLINE, ERIC, Embase, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Education Source and Google Scholar. No date limits will be used in the searches: each search will be performed from the beginning date of the database to the present. The search for unpublished works will be conducted in Dissertation Abstracts, Google Scholar, Embase Conference Proceedings and DART-E.

An initial list of keywords has been generated and will expanded upon prior to the search process. This list includes, but will not be limited to: "nurse practitioner education" "advanced practice nursing education" "graduate level education" "conceptual framework" "theoretical framework" "curriculum" "health care education".

Data extraction

With examination of some preliminary data detail, it is apparent that we will need to employ a tool that includes additional detail than that provided by JBI forms. As such, we are planning to use a form adapted from of the theory evaluation framework provided by Walker and Avant7 (Appendix I) previously used by Graham and Tetroe21 in their critical analysis of conceptual models of Knowledge Translation and the Joanna Briggs Institute Narrative, Opinion and Text Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-NOTARI) data extraction forms (Appendix II). The data extracted will include specific details about the framework/model, model components, relevance to NP practice and evaluation.

Data mapping

Meta-analysis will not be possible due to the descriptive nature of the data extracted and the heterogeneity of included research findings. The study findings will therefore be presented in narrative form and figures and tables will be used to illustrate or summarize key findings as appropriate.

Frameworks will be examined for relevance to NP education using an NP Program Competencies Curriculum Mapping Document,4 (mapping the program competencies with the Canadian Nurses Association NP Core Competency Framework3) and the Graduate Degree Level Expectations and appropriate mapping document by members of the review team that currently provide instruction within NP programs (RW, JM, CG).

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


We acknowledge the Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing, Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Consortium for providing funding for the development of this review protocol.


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          Appendix I: Data extraction instrument (Form adapted from Walker & Avant's Theory Analysis Procedure7with their permission)

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          Appendix II: NOTARI data extraction tool

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          curriculum; education; graduate education; nurse practitioner; theoretical frameworks

          © 2015 by Lippincott williams & Wilkins, Inc.