Advanced Practice Nursing Outcomes: A Review of Selected Empirical Literature

Regina S. Cunningham

ONF 2004, 31(2), 219-232. DOI: 10.1188/04.ONF.219-232

Purpose/Objectives: To review selected empirical literature examining outcomes of advanced practice nursing with a specific focus on the work of oncology advanced practice nurses (APNs).

Data Sources: Published articles (descriptive and data-based) and books.

Data Synthesis: Well-designed, methodologically sound investigations offer clear and compelling evidence that APNs are effective in improving outcomes in diverse populations and settings. Data on outcomes of oncology APNs are more limited but do demonstrate statistically significant improvements in clinical outcomes in the homecare and ambulatory settings. The increase in oncology APNs and the evolution of viable roles for oncology APNs across cancer practice settings offer opportunities to further assess the outcomes of advanced practice nursing.

Conclusions: Understanding the effects of oncology advanced practice nursing on clinical, cost, and satisfaction outcomes is critical. These data will help to explain how APNs can be used most effectively in the healthcare system to ensure the delivery of quality cancer care.

Implications for Nursing: Assessing the outcomes of advanced practice nursing care has been identified as a priority by the Oncology Nursing Society. Expansion of APN roles in oncology creates myriad opportunities to investigate this issue. APNs should be cognizant of the work that has been done in this area and use this knowledge as a foundation from which to launch further investigations.

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