The Future

In the UK, as in the USA, there seems to be a recent shift towards bringing Clinical Nurse Specialists and Nurse Practitioners together under the same title of 'Advanced Nurse Practitioner' (ANP). This potentially welcome shift fits in with the plans in the United Kingdom to register ANPs (NMC, 2005), and this will do a number of things. Firstly, it will provide patients and other healthcare professionals with a clear message of what to expect from this level of nurse. It will also provide nurses with a clear understanding of what educational preparation and what clinical competency is needed. Finally, it will reduce the number of titles used in practice. For example, within the sexual health clinical setting the 'HIV clinical nurse specialist' might become 'advanced nurse practitioner (HIV)' and 'genito-urinary nurse practitioners' may become 'advanced nurse practitioners' (GUM). These practitioners will share a common educational preparation and more importantly a common registration.

REGISTRATION OF ADVANCED NURSE PRACTITIONERS

At the time of writing this chapter the NMC had not finalised the finer details about how this registration will happen. Therefore the following is speculation on what the NMC will suggest. There will be a transitional phase until 2010, which will give existing practitioners the opportunity to gain the components to register. Perhaps the way that it will work is that during the transitional phase nurses will have to demonstrate two things to the NMC to become registered: (1) they will have to demonstrate Master's-level education in a health-related subject; and (2) they will have to demonstrate competency in the National Organisation of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) competency framework through a portfolio of learning. This might mean that some practitioners, who already hold an MSc, might have to pick up other modules, such as a physical assessment module or nurse prescribing.

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