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Advanced practice registered nurse, data, nurse practitioner, scoping review, workforce



  1. Barnes, Hilary PhD, APRN (Assistant Professor)


Background and purpose: There is no single comprehensive data source for conducting nurse practitioner (NP)-focused workforce and outcomes research. The 2015 Research Agenda Roundtable of the Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners supports the development of a national NP data source. A scoping review was conducted to provide an overview of data being used in NP-focused research and to identify key issues relevant to making progress toward a national NP database.


Methods: PubMed, CINAHL, and EMBASE were searched for English-language articles published within the past 10 years (2007-2017). Twenty-one articles were included for review and categorized into three themes: 1) NP Workforce Data Collection and Availability; 2) Using Data to Identify NPs; and 3) Minimum Data Sets and Key Variables.


Conclusions: General consensus among workforce experts suggests that rich sources of NP data exist. However, challenges include a lack of a national data source for studying the NP workforce and outcomes; the inability to identify individual NP providers within existing data; and variations in how different sources of data are collected.


Implications for practice: Improved NP workforce data collection is vital for workforce planning and forecasting and has implications for outcomes research and NP workforce distribution and employment.