A scoping review of outcomes of operational success for nurse scientists in clinical practice settings

Bradi B. Granger, Ruth Bryant, Andrew Crow, Mary Fran Tracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The nurse scientist in the clinical setting is a role that has evolved over recent decades to encompass the concomitant development of personal research programs and the facilitation of staff and advanced practice nurse research in health care settings. However, the definition, operationalization, and measures of success are extremely variable. Purpose: To identify the defining features and characteristics of the nurse scientist role in clinical practice settings as represented in the existing literature. Methods: We conducted a scoping review using PubMed and CINAHL databases. We initially identified a total of 3345 references from 1976 to June 2020, 217 of which were published from 2005-2020. We used the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) framework to explore the state of the science of the role of nurse scientists in practice settings. Discussion: Approximately 100 articles met the criteria for full-text analysis, and the final review consisted of 20 descriptive analytic studies addressing the nurse scientist role definition, operationalization, and outcome measures. Conclusion: Findings suggest that nurse scientist roles serve to promote health system success through a host of research-focused activities that conceivably contribute to improved patient care outcomes. Work is needed to support the cost of requisite resources and infrastructure and to increase acceptance of the role as part of a tenure-earning track in academic settings that also stand to benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-258
Number of pages12
JournalNursing outlook
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Academic-practice partnerships
  • Clinical research
  • Nurse researcher
  • Nurse scientist
  • Nursing science
  • Outcomes
  • Scientists in clinical practice
  • Scoping review

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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