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BackgroundAdvanced practice providers (APPs), including physician assistants/associates (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs) and other non-physician roles, have been developed largely to meet changing healthcare demand and increasing workforce shortages. First introduced in primary care in the US, APPs are prevalent in secondary care across different specialty areas in different countries around the world. In this scoping review, we aimed to summarise the factors influencing the development, recruitment, integration, retention and career development of APP roles in hospital health care teams.MethodsWe conducted a scoping review and searched Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Ovid Global Health, Ovid PsycINFO and EBSCOhost CINAHL to obtain relevant articles published between Jan 2000 and Apr 2023 that focused on workforce management of APP roles in secondary care. Articles were screened by two reviewers independently. Data from included articles were charted and coded iteratively to summarise factors influencing APP development, recruitment, integration, retention and career development across different health system structural levels (macro-, meso- and micro-level).ResultsWe identified and analysed 273 articles that originated mostly from high-income countries, e.g. the US (n = 115) and the UK (n = 52), and primarily focused on NP (n = 183) and PA (n = 41). At the macro-level, broader workforce supply, national/regional workforce policies such as work-hour restrictions on physicians, APP scope of practice regulations, and views of external collaborators, stakeholders and public representation of APPs influenced organisations' decisions on developing and managing APP roles. At the meso-level, organisational and departmental characteristics, organisational planning, strategy and policy, availability of resources, local experiences and evidence as well as views and perceptions of local organisational leaders, champions and other departments influenced all stages of APP role management. Lastly at the micro-level, individual APPs' backgrounds and characteristics, clinical team members' perceptions, understanding and relationship with APP roles, and patient perceptions and preferences also influenced how APPs are developed, integrated and retained.ConclusionsWe summarised a wide range of factors influencing APP role development and management in secondary care teams. We highlighted the importance for organisations to develop context-specific workforce solutions and strategies with long-term investment, significant resource input and transparent processes to tackle evolving healthcare challenges.

Original publication





BMC medicine

Publication Date





Nuffield Department of Medicine Centre for Global Health Research, University of Oxford, S Parks Rd, Oxford, OX1 3SY, UK.


Humans, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Personnel Selection, Patient Care Team