The findings from a Florence Nightingale Scholarship to the USA and Canada, investigating the educational preparation of advanced practice nurses, are reported. The author considers a number of issues facing curriculum designers who might wish to develop clinically based advanced practice nurse programmes in the UK. Utilizing the experiential nature of personal visits, along with the available literature, the strategy adopted by some American and Canadian universities is highlighted to exemplify curriculum issues likely to be encountered in the UK. A definition of advanced nursing practice is provided as a foundation for discussion on curricular construction. This is followed by a discussion on advanced role nomenclature and components and characteristics of the ‘nurse practitioner’, ‘clinical nurse specialist’, ‘nurse consultant’ and ‘nurse clinician’, in order to clarify terminology and disentangle different advanced practice roles. The issues examined include the academic level of advanced practice nurse programmes; the determination of curricular content based on both a ‘generalist’ and ‘specialist’ model of practice; factors considered when exploring advanced practice competencies; and the resource implications for delivering opposing curriculum models. The paper suggests that there is a unique opportunity for advanced practice nursing to establish a key collaborative relationship in the delivery of health care, based on a nursing model, graduate study and the integration of key nursing and related concepts into clinical practice.