Nursing practitioner education


(Left to right, Dr Associate Professor Fiona Coyer – Queensland University of Technology, Professor Amanda Henderson – Queensland Health Metro South, Professor Anne Gardner (ACU), Professor Glenn Gardner – Queensland University of Technology, Mr Shane Lenson (ACU), Ms Helen Gosby – Australian College of Nurse Practitioners

ACU has led several Innovation and Development Grants, funded through the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), and been a partner institution in many others. This is a brief overview of a recent CLLEVER (clinical learning and governance) study on Educating nurse practitioners: advanced specialty competence, clinical learning and governance (2012-2014) – Project Leader: Professor Anne Gardner (ACU).

The current healthcare environment is rapidly changing which calls for innovative and contemporary education responses. The number of advanced and specialist clinical practice degrees at Masters level across many health disciplines are growing. These degrees are strongly clinically focussed and learning is generally concentrated in the clinical domain or workplace.

Nurse practitioners are an innovative workforce model whose role addresses the increasing need for advanced speciality nurses as the population rapidly ages. Educational preparation for the nurse practitioner role at Masters level has had preliminary success in bridging workplace learning and academic requirements. However, many gaps remain in the governance of learning and teaching in the clinical setting where most specialty education takes place. This project explored these gaps, and aimed to:

  • develop a set of nurse practitioner specialties
  • inform a governance framework for learning and teaching of advanced specialty practice in the workplace
  • contribute to the theoretical model of capability learning.

The project team was led by Professor Anne Gardner at ACU’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine and included health professional teaching and clinical learning researchers, health services researchers, an academic with nurse practitioner experience and a nurse practitioner who is involved in the representative professional body.

The project outcomes are being taken up with the CLLEVER2 study (DP130100769), also led by Professor Anne Gardner and funded by the Australian Research Council. CLLEVER2 aims to develop a theoretically informed clinical educational model to support learning and teaching for the nurse practitioner and other advanced clinical roles. 

In December 2014 the final report of the project was published on the OLT website. Research outputs and reports have been made available on the clleverstudy blog. The outcome of Phase 2 (development of metaspecialties) has been taken up by the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office Queensland for use in the Nurse Practitioner – Practice Scope Register



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