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Skills, competencies, and policies for advanced practice critical care nursing in Europe: a scoping review

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Objectives Management of critically ill patients is changing due a rise in population age, comorbidity and complexity. To accommodate these changes, the demand is increasing for advanced practice nurses. More knowledge is needed regarding the role of advanced practice critical care nurses in European countries. The aim of the study was to review the literature describing skills and competencies required for advanced practice critical care nursing in Europe and to investigate related policy. Review method We performed a scoping review including papers published in 1992–2019 targeting policy and the intersection of advanced practice nursing (level of practice), critical care nursing (specialty area) and Europe (geographical origin). Design and data sources Main sources of evidence were PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, SweMed+, Scopus, ERIC and Social Sciences Citation Index. We also searched grey literature, webpages, reference lists and performed hand-search. Results The search identified 11,478 papers/references of which 42 were included. Four levels of practice were identified with unclear boundaries: professional nurse, specialized nurse, advanced practice nurse and advanced critical care practitioner (nurse or other). Most skills and competencies described in the literature were generic to advanced practice and only few were area specific to critical care. Advanced practice critical care nurses were often unable to fulfil their role because education, supportive policy and legislation were lacking. Conclusions This scoping review informs the policy makers and the INACTIC study of existing advanced practice in critical care nursing in Europe. The advanced role in critical care nursing is characterized by inconsistency regarding policy, education, titles, roles, scope of practice, skills and competencies. Levels of practice and areas of specialization need to be clarified. Most skills and competencies identified were generic for advanced practice nursing and many were generic for any profession. Task-shifting from physician to nurse needs to be more clearly defined and patient outcomes described. Given the scarcity of papers in our target area, we believe it might be too early to conduct a systematic review at this time.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103142
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Pages (from-to)103142
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

    Research areas

  • Nursing students Nursing education Advanced nursing practice Critical illness Ageing population, Critical illness, Nursing education, Ageing population, Nursing students, Advanced nursing practice

ID: 66610343