Skills Training for Nurse Practitioners: Translating Evidence to Education

Tuesday, 19 November 2013: 10:20 AM

Gary Laustsen, PhD, APRN-BC, RN
School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, La Grande, OR

Learning Objective 1: identify the top 10 procedures utilized and important in nurse practitioner practice.

Learning Objective 2: identify methods for translating practice-oriented research into nurse practitioner educational courses.

Purpose: To present how results from a task analysis study were strategically translated to inform the development of a nurse practitioner (NP) program’s procedures course. The study surveyed the range and criticality of clinical procedures utilized in NP practice. NPs perform procedures for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes while providing primary, acute, and specialty care services. The role and expectations for NP practice is expanding in the United States (US) and internationally.

Methods: The study employed a descriptive correlational survey methodology. The survey instrument was distributed to all licensed family, adult, geriatric, and pediatric NPs in Oregon, US. The instrument asked respondents if they performed listed procedures, the frequency of use, and importance of the procedures within their practice. Demographic information was also requested to identify any geographic differences in procedures use. Using descriptive statistics, responses were analyzed for frequency and criticality of use in clinical practice. Findings were reviewed and applied in the development of course content for a NP procedures course.

Results: Returned surveys (31%) provided objective data regarding frequency and criticality of procedures used by these NPs. The findings demonstrated clear differences between urban and rural NPs. Many procedures were identified as critical for practice even if used infrequently. Procedures identified as used frequently and of critical importance were incorporated into the NP procedures course.

Conclusion:  Translating evidence from NP practice to inform NP education is a critical strategy for generating current and competent NP providers. Frequency and criticality of NP procedures are important considerations for NP providers and educators. To develop competent and current skillful NPs, ongoing research assessing NP practice competencies needs to be conducted and findings appropriately translated back to NP educational programs. Innovative NP programs should offer didactic and procedure training congruent with current clinical needs and practice locations.