Aim This paper aims to elucidate the concept of advancing nursing practice by engaging critically with developments in policy in the UK and ongoing debates in the international literature.
Background Advancing practice to the outer edges of nursing’s scope of practice is a challenge for the profession both in the UK and elsewhere. However, defining what advancing nursing practice is and what it might become remains problematic.
Evaluation Critical analysis of published papers and policy documents pertaining to the concept of advancing nursing practice.
Key issue Advancing nursing practice as a concept offers enormous potential for nurses and has been the subject of numerous debates over the last 25 years. Previous history of advanced practice offers no imperative practice and informs us little about the future roles of advanced nurse practitioners.
Conclusion Current understanding about the role of advanced nurse practitioner and the nature of advanced practice remains unclear. Measuring the impact and outcome of the complex advanced practice nursing roles remains a challenge.
Implications for nursing management While it is difficult to articulate succinctly what constitutes advancing nursing practice, defining the activities nurses engage in, the skills and competencies involved and the qualities and attributes required help reduce the ambiguities of the role.