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Keywords:

  • advanced practice nursing;
  • interviews;
  • nurse roles;
  • qualitative research;
  • Strong Model of Advanced Practice

Abstract

Title. Making nursing work: breaking through the role confusion of advanced practice nursing

Aim.  This paper reports a study to develop a research-informed model of the service parameters and an analysis framework for advanced practice nursing roles.

Background.  Changing patterns of health care are forcing service planners to examine new service delivery models. Apparent is the call for nursing service that incorporates expanded levels of autonomy, skill and decision-making. A number of nursing roles conform to this description under the generic title of advanced practice nurse. However, there is confusion in the health service community internationally about nomenclature, role and scope for advanced practice nursing roles. An emerging priority in response to recent developments in the nurse practitioner role is to establish service parameters for advanced practice nursing and to differentiate operationally between advanced practice and practitioner nursing roles.

Methods.  We conducted an interpretive, qualitative examination of the practice of a random sample of nine advanced practice nurses working in three acute care hospitals in south east Queensland, Australia in 2006. Data collection involved individual in-depth interviews, which were deductively analysed and tested against published advanced practice nursing models.

Results.  The data most comprehensively supported the Strong Model of Advanced Practice as representing the practice experiences of the research participants. This model supports definition of the service parameters and the design of an operational framework for implementation and evaluation of advanced practice nursing roles.

Conclusion.  The findings differentiate advanced practice nurse and nurse practitioner roles, and offer an operational framework to identify, establish and evaluate advanced and extended nursing positions. Subject to further validation, this outcome can provide operational information for implementing innovative nursing roles appropriate to consumer needs and specific health service models.