Tasks and activities of Advanced Practice Nurses in the psychiatric and mental health care context: A systematic review and thematic analysis

Stefan Scheydt, Anna Hegedüs

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Background: To adequately describe the advanced psychiatric nursing roles and to distinguish them from the other roles of psychiatric and general nursing care, it is necessary to explore the concrete tasks and activities and the scope of practice of Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurses (APN). Objective: to extract, summarize and systematize the tasks and activities of the Psychiatric Mental Health APN from the international scientific literature. Design: systematic literature review reported following the Enhancing Transparency in Reporting the Synthesis of Qualitative Research (ENTREQ) statement and checklist. Methods: The database search was performed using CINAHL, PubMed/Medline, Cochrane Library and Google/Google Scholar databases. Literature sources in English and German, which reported tasks and activities of the Psychiatric Mental Health APNs were included in the analysis. No time restrictions were defined. Roles such as Community Mental Health Nurses and Public Mental Health Nurses were excluded from the analysis. Data were extracted by independent reviewers for qualitative thematic analysis. Results: An extensive body of international literature on Psychiatric Mental Health APN sub-roles could be identified through a systematic literature search. Through our synthesis the main tasks and activities of Psychiatric Mental Health APNs could be identified and described. Altogether 46 items (practice dimensions) could be identified from the 20 sources and finally systematically summarized into six themes or “practice domains”: (1) direct (clinical) nursing and care practice, (2) care coordination and case management, (3) psychosocial health promotion and prevention, (4) consulting, education and coaching, (5) leadership and public relations, and (6) research and practice development. Conclusions: The results of this review provide a thorough outline of the tasks and activities of the Psychiatric Mental Health APN. Thus, the results reported here form the basis for a further differentiation of the tasks and activities of the Psychiatric Mental Health APNs from the basic nursing activities as well as tasks and activities of the generalist APNs. In this context, however, an attempt should be made to increase the specificity of the settings by including the tasks and activities of the community and public mental health nurses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103759
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number118
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Activities
  • Advanced nursing practice
  • Mental health
  • Practice dimensions
  • Practice domains
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Systematic review
  • Tasks
  • Thematic analysis

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