Practice pattern and professional issues of nurse practitioners in mechanical circulatory support programs in the United States: a survey report

Context—Few data-based reports about the role and work environment of advanced practice nurses, specifically nurse practitioners in mechanical circulatory support programs, have been published.

Objective—To describe the practice pattern and professional issues confronted by nurse practitioners in the rapidly evolving and expanding mechanical circulatory support programs in the United States.

Design—A descriptive research design was employed using the data from the 2010 mechanical circulatory support nurses survey. Quantitative and qualitative data that pertained to the demographic and practice profiles as well as barriers and overall issues faced by the nurse practitioners in their clinical practice were analyzed. Participants—Nonrandom sample of 48 nurse practitioners from 95 mechanical circulatory support programs nationwide.

Results—The practice pattern of nurse practitioners in mechanical circulatory support programs is similar to the practice pattern reported for nurse practitioners in acute and critical care settings. However, only 44% and 10% of nurse practitioners in mechanical circulatory support programs are authorized to admit and transfer patients into and out of the hospital, respectively. High workload, lack of institutional support, knowledge deficit, role ambiguity, lack of professional recognition, and burnout were the common issues faced by the participants in their clinical practice.

Conclusion—The results provide preliminary evidence on the practice pattern, restrictions, and work environment issues that may threaten the viability of an mechanical circulatory support program in which nurse practitioners play a crucial role. Implications for clinical practice, research, and policy development are discussed. (Progress in Transplantation. 2012;22:229-236)

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