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Evolution of advanced practice nursing in acute care in Germany: A cross-sectional study of nurses’ scope of practice

Int Nurs Rev. 2023 Nov 15. doi: 10.1111/inr.12907. Online ahead of print.


AIM: To describe activities and professional characteristics of nurses in expanded roles in acute care in Germany and achieve a greater understanding of the current situation of advanced practice nursing.

BACKGROUND: Advanced practice nursing plays an important role in meeting increased demands in healthcare and promoting high-quality care.

INTRODUCTION: In Germany, advanced practice nursing is still at an early stage with a lack of studies describing the scope of practice of nurses in expanded roles.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional-study using a paper-and-pencil questionnaire. In a nationwide convenience sample, we surveyed nurses with an academic degree, who work in an acute care hospital and take over expanded roles in direct patient care. Reporting followed the STROBE checklist.

RESULTS: Of 108 eligible nurses, 84 (77%) completed the survey. The majority had a Master’s degree (63.1%) and the average work experience was 18.2 years. Participants carried out activities in all the domains that were queried (direct clinical practice, guidance and coaching, consultation, leadership and research) with differences within and between domains. Foci were on direct clinical practice and coaching and guidance.

DISCUSSION: In Germany, qualifications are nearing the international standard of advanced practice nursing. Results suggest that participants partly undertake activities within the scope of registered nurses’ practice that do not correspond fully to their formal qualifications.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING AND/OR HEALTH POLICY: In order to foster the role development of expanded practice nurses in Germany, political efforts are needed in terms of training (e.g. specific Master’s programmes), funding of corresponding positions in practice and control mechanisms (e.g. professional registration).

PMID:37965870 | DOI:10.1111/inr.12907

By Nevin Manimala

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