Purpose: To analyze and clarify the conceptual basis of advanced practice nursing to determine the state of the knowledge from the perspective of four overarching principles derived from the philosophy of science: epistemological, pragmatic, linguistic, and logical.
Data sources: Written discourse regarding advanced practice nursing from refereed journals published between 2000 and 2007.
Conclusions: Conceptualization of a core definition of advanced practice nursing will enhance external legitimacy and recognition; understanding advanced practice nurse (APN) roles, sub-roles, and competencies will enhance internal cohesion. The outcome of this concept analysis is a greater understanding of the conceptual basis of advanced practice nursing and a current best estimate of the probable truth surrounding advanced practice nursing.
Implications for practice: A greater understanding of the conceptual basis of advanced practice nursing will help to gain clarity, internal cohesion, external legitimacy, and acceptance of APN roles by society and other healthcare professions.