Emergency nurse practitioners' perceptions of their role and scope of practice: is at advanced practice?

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There are multiple interpretations of the nurse practitioner role which appear to be shaped by discourses within and outside the profession and its regulatory body. This study aimed to explore and clarify the role and scope of practice of emergency nurse practitioners in a region in the United Kingdom and determine if they fulfil the proposed criteria for Advanced Nurse Practitioners. A survey approach using questionnaires (n=42) was adopted. The sample included all emergency nurse practitioners working in Accident and Emergency Departments and Minor Injury Units in the region. Statistical data was analysed using SPSS for Windows and qualitative data was content analysed for themes. Results revealed a variation in education. Investigation of role typology and scope of practice revealed a relatively homogenous group where the clinical aspect of the role dominated. The scope of practice was perceived to be influenced by internal factors such as competence; however protocol use, referral rights and prescribing authority could be considered ways that nursing management and medical staff indirectly control the role. Findings suggested that emergency nurse practitioners were working at a level significantly beyond registration, yet do not fulfil the Nursing and Midwifery Council proposed criteria for Advanced Nurse Practitioner
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Emergency Nurse
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - May 2012


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