Journal of advanced nursing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
AIM: To achieve profession-wide consensus on clinical practice standards for six broad Australian nurse practitioner specialty areas (termed metaspecialties). DESIGN: Sequential mixed methods with initial interpretive study (Interpretive Phase) followed by modified three-round Delphi study (Survey Phase). METHODS: Participants from all Australian jurisdictions were recruited. Main eligibility criterion was current endorsement as a nurse practitioner for 12 or more months. Interpretive Phase comprised in-depth interviews of purposeful sample of nurse practitioners to identify clinical care activities and practice processes. Six sets of draft clinical practice standards relevant to six previously identified metaspecialties were developed. Outcome informed Round 1 of Survey Phase (six nested web-based Delphi surveys), with draft standards reviewed profession-wide. Responses comprised scoring using Likert scales to calculate content validity indexes for individual standards with qualitative responses supporting decision-making. For Rounds 2 and 3, participants rated relevancy of original or revised standards after consideration of individual and group feedback. The study was conducted 2014-2017. RESULTS: Interpretive Phase: Analysis of interview data with 16 nurse practitioners provided 75 draft standards. Survey Phase: 221 nurse practitioners completed Round 1 (20% of then eligible Australian nurse practitioners). Weighted respondent retention was 92%. Seventy-three standards were validated, with final content validity indices of 92-100%. Scale-level indices were 98%, strongly validating metaspecialty taxonomy. CONCLUSION: A research-derived, professionally endorsed suite of nurse practitioner clinical practice standards was developed. This provides a broad clinical learning structure with metaspecialties guiding nurse practitioner student clinical education. IMPACT: The clinical practice standards and metaspecialty taxonomy strengthen nurse practitioner clinical education and professional development nationally and internationally. These novel study methods and findings are applicable to advanced specialty roles in other health professions.
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