School of Nursing and Midwifery / Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Services Research
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation
Background Advanced practice nursing is recognised globally as central to meeting this community need. Whilst there is increasing recognition that advanced practice nurses should be educated to at least a master degree level, there is scant evidence on the influence of higher education on the practice profile of advanced practice nursing. Aim To investigate the relationship between level of education and domain practice scores of nurses in advanced practice roles. Methods The validated Advanced Practice Nursing Role Delineation (APRD) tool was used to measure the practice profile of advanced practice nurses at different postgraduate education levels, across five domains of nursing practice activities. A cross-sectional electronic survey of nurses was used. Findings APNs with higher degrees performed at a higher level across all five domains of the APRD tool compared to those who did not hold a higher degree. This was highly significant for the domains of Research and Leadership, followed by the Optimising Health Systems and Education domains, but not significant for the Direct Care domain. Discussions Questions are often raised about the benefits of investing in nurses’ education, particularly the need for a higher degree for advanced practice nurses. APNs with higher degrees have a different emphasis in their role activities than those without a higher degree. This difference could be significant given current global health challenges. Conclusion Higher education changes the practice profile of APNs. Those with higher education are more likely to be involved in research and leadership with knowledge integration across all practice domains.
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