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27 National Organizations Join Together to Commission a Study of the Impact of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses on Healthcare Quality, Safety, and Effectiveness

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

27 National Organizations Join Together to Commission a Study of the Impact of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses on Healthcare Quality, Safety, and Effectiveness

WASHINGTON, DC, September 24, 2008 – The Tri-Council for Nursing is collaborating with a number of national nursing organizations to commission a study of the impact Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) have on healthcare quality and patient outcomes. The first comprehensive study of its kind in 20 years, researchers will examine the evidence connected to care provided by nurses in the four APRN roles - Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners. Following a competitive process, Robin Newhouse, PhD, RN, CNAA, BC, CNOR, with the University of Maryland School of Nursing, has been selected as the principal investigator for this project. The trans-disciplinary team members (named below) are from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.

“A sweeping review of the scientific literature on the quality, safety, and effectiveness of care provided by APRNs is needed to inform educational, policy, and organizational decisions,” said Dr. Newhouse. “Our team will evaluate the evidence on the outcomes of care provided by APRNs since 1990 objectively, define the effectiveness and limitations of APRNs, and determine the overall strength of the evidence on this important topic. I am looking forward to working with my team to provide a qualitative and quantitative synthesis of the evidence.”

Though APRNs have been linked to improved access to healthcare services, enhanced patient safety, and cost-effective care, a contemporary systematic review is needed to gauge the overall impact these providers are having in today’s healthcare system. In 1987, the federal Office of Technology Assessment conducted a meta-analysis of the quality and safety of care delivered by nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and certified nurse midwives. The overwhelming conclusion of that analysis was that these clinicians are highly skilled, knowledgeable, and effective providers of care. This study also concluded that a significant portion of the care needs of this country could be delivered by these clinicians. Since this study was released, no other national analysis of the growing body of research on APRN practice has been conducted.

This new research effort, titled An Assessment of the Safety, Quality, and Effectiveness of Care Provided by Advanced Practice Nurses, will culminate in an expansive final report which will summarize the latest data on APRNs as well as an article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This work is expected to be completed by January 2009. The organizations supporting this work understand the essential role APRNs play in the healthcare delivery system and recognize the ability of these clinicians to provide effective, high quality interventions.

The Tri-Council for Nursing, a long-standing alliance whose members include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, and National League for Nursing, initiated this analysis of current APRN practice and associated outcomes. To date, 23 additional nursing organization have endorsed this work and provided the financial contributions needed to fund this sizable study. Supporting organizations include:

Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Critical Care Nurses
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
American College of Nurse Midwives
American Nephrology Nurses’ Association
American Nurses Association
American Nurses Credentialing Center
American Organization of Nurse Executives
American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Association of periOperative Registered Nurses
Association of Rehabilitation Nurses
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
National Association of Neonatal Nurses
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
National League for Nursing
National Student Nurses Association
Nursing Economics Foundation
Oncology Nursing Society
Sigma Theta Tau
Society of Trauma Nurses
Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates

Research Team

Principal Investigator:
Robin P. Newhouse, PhD, RN, CNAA, BC, CNOR

Study Team:
Julie Stanik-Hutt, PhD, ACNP, CCNS
Donald M. Steinwachs, PhD
Jonathan P. Weiner, DrPH
Eric B. Bass, MD, MPH
Kathleen M. White, PhD, RN, CNAA, BC
Lou Heindel, DNP, CRNA
Meg Johantgen PhD, RN
George Zangoro, PhD, RN
Lily Fountain, MS, CNM
Renee F. Wilson, MSc

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Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231