Nurse-sensitive outcomes of advanced practice
Advanced practice nurses (APNs) in the USA are registered nurses who hold masters or doctoral degrees in a specialized area of nursing. They provide advanced clinical care to clients, manage health care systems and influence health care decision-making through expert clinical reasoning and research and theory-based action. APN impact on health care outcomes is supported by studies using physician-focused indicators, although a few studies have identified several that are sensitive to or reflective of advanced practice nursing. A modified Delphi survey was conducted during May 1997–December 1998 to determine the outcome indicators APNs recommend for use in measuring their effect on care delivery outcomes. A convenience sample of 66 APNs attending a statewide outcomes conference identified 27 potential outcome indicators. These indicators were included in a mailed survey sent to APNs working in Tennessee. Respondents were asked to rate each indicator for validity, sensitivity, feasibility, utility and cost. In the second round of the survey, they were asked whether or not they agreed with the rank ordering of indicators, which was determined by the means calculated from responses in the first round. The 10 highest ranked indicators were satisfaction with care delivery, symptom resolution/reduction, perception of being well cared for, compliance/adherence with treatment plan, knowledge of patients and families, trust of care provider, collaboration among care providers, frequency and type of procedures ordered and quality of life. APNs identified both direct and indirect measures of effect on care delivery outcomes. Some of these are currently used as indicators of advanced practice, but many are not. Additional research is needed to determine whether the indicators proposed are valid and sensitive to advanced practice care by nurses.