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The aim of this study was to achieve profession-wide consensus on an Australian nurse practitioner specialty framework. Background Since its introduction in 1998, the Australian nurse practitioner profession has grown to over 1300 endorsed practitioners, representing over 50 different specialties. To complement better a generalist learning and teaching framework with specialist clinical education, prior research proposed a broad framework of Australian nurse practitioner specialty areas termed metaspecialties.


This study employed an online three-round modified Delphi method.


Recruitment using purposive sampling and snowballing techniques identified an eligible sample from a population of nurse practitioners with at least 12 months’ postendorsement experience (n = 966). Data were collected using online survey software from September 2014–January 2015 and analysed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. The Content Validity Index and McNemar's Test for Change were used to determine consensus on the nurse practitioner metaspecialties.


One-fifth of the total eligible population completed the study. Participants achieved high consensus on four metaspecialties, including: Emergency and acute care, primary health care, child and family health care and mental health care. Two metaspecialties did not achieve consensus and require further investigation.


A large sample of nurse practitioners achieved consensus on an Australian metaspecialty framework, increasing the likelihood of widespread acceptance across the profession. This technique may be appropriate for use in jurisdictions with smaller populations of nurse practitioners. Ongoing research is needed to re-evaluate the metaspecialties as the profession grows.

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Journal Article

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