Advanced Practice Nursing Titles and Roles in Cancer Care: A Scoping Review

Maura Dowling, Eva Pape, Franziska Geese, Ann Van Hecke, Denise Bryant-Lukosius, M Consuelo Cerón, Paz Fernández-Ortega, Francisca Marquez-Doren, Ashleigh Ward, Cherith Semple, Tracy King, Manela Glarcher, Amanda Drury

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Advanced practice nursing roles in cancer care are diverse and exist across the cancer care continuum. However, the titles used and the scope of practice differ across countries. This diversity is likely to be misleading to patients and influence nurses' contribution to health care. An understanding of the current state of advanced practice nursing roles in cancer care internationally is needed to inform opportunities for future role development and enhance cancer nursing career pathways. This scoping review included a systematic search of four databases: MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Academic Search Complete. Independent screening for papers meeting the review's inclusion criteria was undertaken using online screening software. Data extraction, coding, and mapping were undertaken in NVivo 12. Of the 13,409 records identified, 108 met the review's inclusion criteria. A variety of roles in cancer care settings were described. The United States and the United Kingdom had the most titles for advanced practice nursing roles. Tumor-specific roles were described and integrated into different phases of the cancer care continuum. Trends in continuing professional development for advanced practice nurses in cancer care included the rise in Fellowship programs in the United States and practice-based education in the United Kingdom. The differences in advanced practice nursing roles in cancer care allow regional and institutional variation to meet the needs of patient populations and health care system demands. However, a lack of clarity surrounding titles and roles results in confusion and underutilization of these nurses' highly specialized skill sets. Incongruence in titles and scope of practice internationally will ultimately result in a merging of roles. There is a need for international agreement on education requirements for advanced practice nursing roles to promote career pathways. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Article number151627
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in oncology nursing
Early online date30 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished online - 30 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

The research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s)


  • Nurse practitioner
  • clinical nurse specialist
  • Cancer
  • Workforce
  • Scoping Review
  • Advanced practice nursing


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