Basal cell skin cancer, family nurse practitioners, full body skin examination, head to-toe skin examination, lesion detection, lesion identification, melanoma, nurse practitioners, primary care nurse practitioners, skin cancer risk assessment, squamous cell skin cancer



  1. Stratton, Delaney B. MS-FNP, BSN, RN (PhD/DNP Student)


Background and Purpose: Skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, is a serious health care concern. Early skin cancer detection improves prognosis; most common early detection approach is a comprehensive clinical skin examination (CSE). A CSE consists of skin cancer risk assessment, head-to-toe skin examination, and skin lesion assessment. Nurse practitioners (NPs) currently lack adequate training and confidence to conduct CSE. The goal of this systematic review was to learn more about published interventions targeting CSE training for primary care NPs and/or other primary care providers. The findings were categorized based on the established procedures for intervention development.


Methods: The databases PubMed, Google Scholar, CINAHL, and Web of Science were searched. Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, 10 articles were selected for data extraction.


Conclusions: There is a paucity of articles that report rigorously developed interventions aimed at educating primary care NPs to conduct CSE. Existing CSE interventions were not tested for efficacy or effectiveness, and the implementation methods were weak or not reported. A synthesis of the review findings revealed inadequately reported sample characteristics, vague intervention goals, unspecified frequency or duration of interventions, and lack of standardized intervention protocols.


Implications for practice: This review builds a foundation for more rigorously developed interventions to improve CSE and provides guidance for NPs to select education on CSE and other clinical foci. Future research will guide the development and evaluate the effectiveness of CSE education, which ultimately could improve skin cancer prognosis interventions and lack of standardized intervention protocols.