Christa M. Braun-Inglis, Emily V. Dressler, Jamie S. Myers, Al B. Benson, Marie Flannery, Marjorie Good, Andrea Denicoff, Jeffrey L. Berenberg, Alisha T. DeTroye, Bridget O'Brien, Lisa Kottschade, Dee Ann Omatsu, Carol A. Kittel, Chandylen L. Nightingale, Melyssa Foust, Glenn J. Lesser

Defining the Role of the Advanced Practice Provider Within the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program

  • Oncology (nursing)
  • Health Policy
  • Oncology

PURPOSE Oncology advanced practice providers (APPs), including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, physician assistants, and clinical pharmacists, contribute significantly to quality cancer care. Understanding the research-related roles of APPs in the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) could lead to enhanced protocol development, trial conduct, and accrual. METHODS The 2022 NCORP Landscape Assessment Survey asked two questions about the utilization and roles of APPs in the NCORP. RESULTS A total of 271 practice groups completed the 2022 survey, with a response rate of 90%. Of the 259 nonpediatric exclusive practice groups analyzed in this study, 92% used APPs for clinical care activities and 73% used APPs for research activities. APPs most often provided clinical care for patients enrolled in trials (97%), followed by assistance with coordination (65%), presenting/explaining clinical trials (59%), screening patients (49%), ordering investigational drugs (37%), and consenting participants (24%). Some groups reported APPs as an enrolling investigator (18%) and/or participating in institutional oversight/selection of trials (15%). Only 5% of NCORP sites reported APPs as a site primary investigator for trials, and very few (3%) reported APPs participating in protocol development. CONCLUSION Practice groups report involving APPs in clinical research within the NCORP network; however, opportunities for growth exists. As team-based care has enhanced clinical practice in oncology, this same approach can be used to enhance successful research. Suggested strategies include supporting APP research-related time, recognition, and education. The findings of this survey and subsequent recommendations may be applied to all adult oncology practices that participate in clinical research.

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