NP Practice Research

Discussion Paper: Quality of Nurse Practitioner Practice

Half a century of research definitively demonstrates that nurse practitioners (NPs) provide high-quality primary, acute and specialty health care services across the life span and in diverse settings, including NP-owned practices. NPs have graduate-level education, with master’s or doctoral degrees, and possess the knowledge and clinical competency to provide health care beyond their initial registered nurse preparation. As clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating acute and chronic health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention, health management and patient education, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to health care.

Since the NP role was established in 1965, research has consistently demonstrated the excellent outcomes and high quality of care provided by NPs. The body of literature supports the position that NPs provide care that is safe, effective, patient centered, efficient, equitable and evidenced based. Furthermore, NP care is comparable in quality to that of their physician colleagues, demonstrated by numerous studies that conclude no statistically significant difference across outcome measures. Research has found that patients under the care of NPs have fewer unnecessary hospital readmissions, fewer potentially preventable hospitalizations, higher patient satisfaction
and fewer unnecessary emergency room visits than patients under the care of physicians. This paper summarizes several empirical, peer-reviewed articles supporting the quality of NP practice and is presented in two sections: 1) original research and 2) systematic reviews and meta-analyses. These references are listed as an annotated bibliography. (Read more AANP Discussion Paper (rev. 2020)