Advanced practice nursing in Europe—Results from a pan-European survey of 35 countries

Publication Name

Journal of Advanced Nursing


Aim: To report the results of a mapping exercise by the European Federation of Nurses on current advanced practice nursing frameworks and developments across Europe. Design: Online, cross-sectional, questionnaire study. Methods: An online questionnaire was distributed among 35 national nurses' associations across Europe in March 2021. The questionnaire solicited input on 60 items concerning key features of advanced practice nursing, intending to map existing developments and better understand the current state of advanced practice nursing in Europe. Data analysis used descriptive statistics, including counts and percentages, tabulation; open-text responses were handled with thematic synthesis techniques. Results: The definition, sense-making and operationalization of advanced practice nursing vary across Europe. Important variations were noted in the definition and requirements of advanced practice nursing, resulting in different views on the competencies and scope of practice associated with this role. Importantly, the level of education and training required to qualify and practice as an advanced practice nurse varies across European countries. Furthermore, only 11 countries reported the existence of a national legislation establishing minimum educational requirements. Conclusion: Significant variation exists in how countries define advanced practice nursing and how it is regulated at academic and practice levels. More research is needed to clarify whether this variation results from designing models of advanced practice nursing that work in different contexts; and what impact a standardized regulatory framework could have to grow the volume of advanced practice nurses across Europe. Impact: The current paper exposes the lack of clarity on the development and implementation of advanced practice nursing across Europe. We found significant variation in the definition, recognition, regulation and education of advanced practice nurses. Our data are essential to policymakers, professional associations and employers to ensure a coordinated and systematic effort in the consistency and ongoing development of advanced practice nurses across Europe. Patient or Public Contribution: No patient or public contribution applied; the participants were national nurses' associations.

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