Is it time for the 4th P in nurse practitioner education? Physical assessment, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and procedures: A systematic review

Marianne K. Schallmo, Purdue University Northwest
Timian M. Godfrey, Johns Hopkins University
Darryn Dunbar, Johns Hopkins University
Kristen M. Brown, Johns Hopkins University
Amanda Coyle, Johns Hopkins University
Rita F. DʼAoust, Johns Hopkins University


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Nurse practitioners (NPs) perform diagnostic and clinical procedure skills in the acute, specialty, urgent, and primary care settings. Nurse practitioners surveyed on readiness for practice report a lack of confidence and education preparation for performing selected advanced diagnostic and skills. As NPs gain independent, full practice scope, it is imperative advanced diagnostic and procedure skills used in practice are taught in nurse practitioner curriculum. The purpose of this review is to document a systematic review of the literature, answering the following question: Among primary care NPs, does current program curriculum align with current procedures and skills in theclinical setting? METHODS: PubMed, Cochrane, Scopus, CINAHL, and Embase were searched between inception and 2018 using the search terms "advanced practice nursing, clinical competence, diagnostic techniques or procedures, and primary health care." Following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis guidelines, nine articles were included in the synthesis. CONCLUSION: There is scant research regarding NP educational preparation of skills and procedures. Study findings indicate that programs are not teaching all the procedures deemed important. Education should promote improved congruence between the skills and procedures taught in program curricula and those used in clinical practice. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: It is critical to complete an education practice survey measuring skill and procedure preparation and competency at graduation. Survey results will determine whether skill and procedure guidelines are indicated for NP education. A recommendation may include minimal skills and procedure for all nurse practitioner curricula.