Nurse practitioners’ focus on health care in terms of cure and care: analysis of graduate theses using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

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Abstract

Aim

To explore the focus of nurse practitioners on health care in terms of cure and care.

Background

Nurse practitioners are expected to act on the intersection of cure and care. However, in clinical practice and education, a clear model covering this area is lacking; therefore, it is unknown to what extent nurse practitioners are focused on this specific area. Graduate theses may reflect the focus of nurse practitioners.

Design

Sequential exploratory mixed method.

Methods

In total, 413 published abstracts of graduate theses of a Dutch Master of Advanced Nursing Practice (2000–2015) were analysed using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Data source included aim, question and outcome of each thesis and graduates’ characteristics. A qualitative deductive approach was used for the analyses. Theses were classified as focused on cure, care, or on the intersection of cure and care.

Results

A small majority of 53% (N =219) of the graduate theses addressed patient's health status and could be classified in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Of the classified theses, 48% were focused on cure, 39% on the intersection of cure and care and 13% on care. While the percentage of theses addressing health status increased significantly over the 15-year period, the percentage of theses focused on cure, care and on the intersection of cure and care remained the same.

Conclusion

The graduate theses reflected that nurse practitioners are increasingly oriented towards patients’ health status. However, their focus is predominantly on cure rather than on the intersection of cure and care.

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