McDonnell, Ann, Gerrish, Kate, Kirshbaum, Marilyn, Nolan, M. and Tod, Angela (2012) The perceived impact of Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) on promoting evidence-based practice amongst frontline nurses: Findings from a collective case study. Journal of Research in Nursing. ISSN 1744-9871

The aim of this study was to explore the perceived impact of advanced practice nurses in
promoting evidence-based practice amongst frontline nurses. A collective instrumental case
study was undertaken involving five extended case studies and eighteen short case studies in
a range of hospital and primary care settings across seven Strategic Health Authorities in
England. The study participants were a purposive sample of twenty-three advanced practice
nurses selected to represent a range of settings, clinical specialities, organisational
responsibilities and ways of working. In-depth interviews were undertaken with the advanced
practice nurse and up to ten interviews with health care professionals with whom they
worked. For the extended case studies, non-participant observation and follow-up interviews
were also undertaken. Data analysis drew on the principles of the Framework approach.
From the perspectives of the participants, these advanced practice nurses enhanced the ability
of frontline nurses to provide evidence-based care. They improved the competence,
knowledge and skills of frontline nurses and empowered them to deliver care which they
considered to be safer, holistic, more timely and of a higher standard. This is likely to have a
positive effect on patient outcomes and on patient experience. However, this impact is
inherently hard to capture.

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