The Key Role of Nurse Researchers in the Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Models of Practice

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Abstract

The Nurse Practitioner-Aged Care Models of Practice Program involved diverse models of practice comprising multiple stakeholders located in more than 30 locations across Australia, in remote, rural, urban, and metropolitan settings. Funded by the Australian government, the aims of the program included supporting development of effective, economically viable, and sustainable aged care nurse practitioner models of practice; and enabling improvements in access to primary health care for people aged older than 65 years.

This article describes the process by which a framework was developed to support the evaluation of this program. A particular challenge for the nurse researchers involved in the evaluation was to ensure the unique values of the nursing profession were upheld alongside economic, biomedical, and empirical imperatives in the diverse processes involved in collecting and interpreting data. The evaluation framework developed provides an important means of enabling research teams who undertake complex evaluations of diverse nursing models of practice to maintain a common goal—to unify the various stakeholders involved, while at the same time upholding what is most important to the profession of nursing. This article highlights how nurses can play an influential role when involved in the multidisciplinary evaluation of new and innovative approaches to practice.

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