Nurse Practitioners in NSW Gaining Momentum

Nurse Practitioners in NSW Gaining Momentum

NSW Ministry of Health
Duration: June 2013 – December 2014


This project involved working closely with the Nursing and Midwifery Office in the NSW Ministry of Health to facilitate the ongoing development of nurse practitioner positions in the NSW public health system. The structure of the project evolved over time and consisted of three stages: (1) A review of the literature, with a particular focus on the Australian literature since 2000; (2) A review of the scope of practice documents of nurse practitioners in NSW; and (3) Development of a compendium, which included descriptions of 12 nurse practitioners recognised as ‘exemplars’ of what is possible.

What we did

The literature review sought to answer the question ‘what do nurse practitioners look like?’ and identify Australian research regarding the factors influencing successful implementation. Literature searching included the peer-reviewed academic literature and the non-peer reviewed literature available on the web sites of government departments, professional organisations and universities. The three main sources for the review were 28 existing reviews of the literature; 68 papers reporting studies undertaken in Australia to evaluate nurse practitioners; and some conceptual papers that provided insights into the nurse practitioner role. The literature review was published by the Nursing and Midwifery Office on their website in November 2014 (‘Rapid review of the nurse practitioner literature: Nurse Practitioners in NSW Gaining Momentum’).

Working in close collaboration with the nurse practitioner coordinator in each local health district, scope of practice documents were obtained from nurse practitioners from across the state. Document review identified several areas where the scope of practice documents could be improved.

Discussions with the Nursing and Midwifery Office resulted in 12 suggestions for nurse practitioner models to be included in a compendium of exemplars of nurse practitioner practice. The models described in the compendium included seven nurse practitioners working in rural locations, four in metropolitan locations, and one in a remote location. Compilation of the descriptions for inclusion in the compendium was based on interviews with nurse practitioners, interviews with clinicians and managers familiar with their work, and some observation of their work. The case studies resulted in rich descriptions of the nurse practitioner role.

Final Report

Download the final report:

Masso M and Thompson C (2014) Nurse practitioners in NSW ‘Gaining Momentum’: rapid review of the nurse practitioner literature. Centre for Health Service Development, University of Wollongong.

Nurse Practitioners in NSW Gaining Momentum - Cover

Related journal article

Masso M and Thompson C (2017) Australian research investigating the role of nurse practitioners: A view from implementation science. Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research, 24 (3): 281-291.


Project team: Malcolm Masso and Cristina Thompson

Last reviewed: 29 August, 2018

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