Survey Results 2001


Submitted by the ICN International Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nursing Network, Research Subgroup

October 2001

The ICN International Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nursing Network has conducted an international survey of nurse practitioner/advanced practice roles in order to learn more about the characteristics of nurses who are practicing in nurse practitioner or advanced practice nursing roles throughout the world. Questions on the survey address the presence of an advanced practice role, the preparation for that role, the characteristics of the role and the country's oversight and educational preparation leading to the implementation of the role.

Surveys were distributed to 120 member countries holding membership in the ICN and to attendees at international nursing conferences. 109 responses were received from 40 countries.

Respondents from thirty-three (83%) of the forty countries report that there is a nursing role requiring education beyond that of a licensed or registered nurse in the country. Those from thirty-one (78%) report that there is an accreditation or approval process in place for nursing programs. Approving bodies range from national nursing boards or councils, departments or ministries of health and departments or ministries of education to federations of nursing schools, universities and training programs, private accrediting bodies and local government. According to the respondents, thirty (69%) countries have a formal educational program preparing individuals for advanced nursing roles, and in twenty-six (65%), education for the role leads to a recognized qualification such as a degree or certificate.

Fifteen (36%) of the countries were reported to have a specific title for advanced roles. Some countries had more than one title. Titles utilized include nurse practitioner, clinical specialist and nurse specialist. Others identified specific specialty areas such as community health nurse, psychiatric/mental health nurse, pediatric nurse, gerontology nurse, orthopedic nurse, nurse anesthetist and nurse administrator. Thirteen (33%) had legislation or some other form of regulatory mechanism for nurse practitioners/advanced practice nurses in the country.

The characteristics of advanced practice nursing roles reported by country (N=40) were:

  • Autonomy and independence in practice 55% (N=22)
  • Right to diagnose 35% (N=14)
  • Authority to prescribe treatments 38% (N=15)
  • Authority to prescribe medicine 25% (N=10)
  • Authority to refer clients to other professionals 60% (N=24)
  • Provision of Consultant services to health providers 70% (N=28)
  • Research Functions 68% (N=27)
  • Planning, implementing and evaluating programs 73% (N=29)
  • Recognized as one of the first point contacts for clients 68% (N=27)
  • Able to set up as an independent practitioner 30% (N=17)

It is clear that the practice of nurses in nurse practitioner/advanced practice roles is changing and evolving in many countries. The characteristics of the role and the authorization to practice in certain venues are variable according to specialty and geography. Further refinement of information regarding nurse practitioner/advanced practice roles will be undertaken in future surveys.

The Research Subgroup of the International Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nursing Network has submitted this report on behalf of the ICN INP/APN Network.