Research Brief

Identifying the Contribution of Nurse Practitioners in the Care of Older Adults With Cancer

Lorinda A. Coombs

Caroline Stephens

nurse practitioners, older adults, cancer care
ONF 2019, 46(3), 277-282. DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.277-282

Objectives: To identify the best available dataset that measured the number of nurse practitioners (NPs) and the type of care they provided; patient information, including malignancy type, age, and insurance status; and volume of procedures performed by NPs.

Sample & Setting: All available national datasets that included patients with cancer and provider types.

Methods & Variables: Using prespecified consensus-driven criteria, all available administrative datasets were reviewed. The authors evaluated four that met the inclusion criteria.

Results: The authors’ analysis identified the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program linked with Medicare claims dataset as the most appropriate to measure the contribution of NP-provided cancer care to older adults. The Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse was excluded because of the limited number of malignancies included in the data; the SEER–Medicare dataset included all malignancies.

Implications for Nursing: Evidence demonstrates that NPs provide an unknown amount of cancer care to older adults. Further research using the SEER–Medicare dataset may yield a solution to the health issue of insufficient oncologists to care for the growing older adult population. Workforce research informs future training needs and influences policymakers’ decisions, making secondary data analyses in nursing particularly important.

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