Role of advanced nurse practitioners must be promoted in Scotland, says RCN report

The Nurse Innovators report says advanced nurse practitioners can lead new health and care services

The Scottish government, the RCN and Scotland’s health and care organisations must work together to promote the importance of advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs), a report says. 

The Nurse Innovators report by RCN Scotland, published today, says the contribution ANPs can make to transforming NHS services is being increasingly recognised.

But it adds that among some stakeholders, there is still a lack of understanding about senior nurses’ clinical decision-making skills, expertise and knowledge.

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe says: ‘There is a huge and largely untapped potential for advanced nurse practice to contribute to, and lead, new ways of delivering health and care services to ensure they are sustainable into the future.’

The report says there needs to be clear strategic vision about the value and role of ANPs among health boards and integration authorities.

It adds that Scotland's politicians have to understand and support the need for ANPs.

Alongside the report, RCN Scotland has published seven case studies of ANPs working in senior decision-making roles in health boards across the country.

These include NHS Grampian associate nurse director Linda Harper who runs a nurse-led out-of-hours service which provides urgent medical care when family doctor practices are closed. 

With colleagues, she has developed a nurse triage system which identifies patients from A&E departments who are suitable for GP-type care. 

Ms Harper says: ‘Collectively – wherever we work – I believe there is a great opportunity for us as nurses to develop new ways of working, for the benefits of our patients locally.’

The report makes recommendations including calling for national work to be undertaken to describe and set a benchmark for what advanced level nursing practice is. 

It also calls for nationally agreed standards to be developed for training, education and career development pathways for advanced nursing practice. 

To read the report and case studies, click here


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