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What is the role of an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP)?

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21 January, 2013

Article: Williamson S et al (2012) The role and benefits of ward-based advanced nurse practitioners. Nursing Times; 109: online issue.

5 key points

  1. There is little research on what advanced nurse practitioners actually do in acute medical wards
  2. ANPs can be a vital link between medical and nursing teams
  3. Their familiarity with the hospital and networking skills mean ANPs can be an information and communication resource for staff at all grades
  4. There is a risk that having an ANP on the ward could be deskilling, reducing the need for ward nurses to use their initiative and develop their own skills
  5. ANPs often have to meet competing demands and, in some cases, overcome the antagonism of colleagues

Let’s discuss

In this research ANPs are described as lynchpins on wards in which they work. Outline the evidence used to support this argument.

  • Why does a structured definition of the ANP role go against the notion of professional autonomy?
  • Why do the ANPs in this study feel that their Master’s degree had not adequately prepared them for their clinical role?
  • Why is there a risk that the ANP role could deskill ward nurses?

 

Readers' comments (6)

  • What is the role of an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP)?

    The absence of any posts so far, perhaps indicates that most people are uncertain of the answer to that question?

    Nobody seems enthusiastic about your other discussion points, either?

    Perhaps 'Why did nobody comment about this one?' is a good question?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • my colleague and I work as practitioners within surgery. We pre-assess all patients coming in for major surgery and guide them through the enhanced recovery programme. We work for six consultants between us which is highly demanding. When the house officers are absent or on night shift we tend to support the ward and team in their place, we are both nurse prescribers and cannullate, take bloods and have an enormous amount of clinical experience that we put into place daily.
    Rather than the nurses feeling deskilled, we feel that they feel very supported by us. They know that they can contact us and we will attend the ward to write drugs up or give some advice with regards to discharges, patient care or if a patient is poorly. We do not take the place of the doctors, but because we have been in role for many years and know the job and wards etc very well, we offer a consistency to the service, especially when the doctors rotate and for the first couple of weeks are like headless chickens. The house officers are dependent on us for information on a wide of range of subjects and we all develop a very good working relationship.
    I also feel that as practitioners we can also inspire nurses to develop their own careers.
    I love my job but it is hard work and mentally challenging, and a lot of the time the buck stops with you, but being able to work autonomously, make decisions, troubleshoot and have respect from our consultants and ward staff is worth all the effort and hard work we put in to our role.

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  • As a nurse practitioner I assess, diagnose, treat, and discharge patients.

    I support the nursing team, junior drs, facilitate evidence based practice.

    I measure the interventions that are implemented thru audits and carryout research to improve practice and disseminate thru conferences locally, nationally, and internationally, and thru publications.

    I am a cheap alternative to a dr and save lots of money to NHS trust.

    I love my job and colleagues respect me.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Anonymous | 24-Jan-2013 3:46 pm

    I am an ANP working in an identical role to
    Anonymous | 25-Jan-2013 4:12 pm. Like my colleague, I have done the job for a few years now and I think that ANPs are probably just accepted as part of the whole hospital environment. I suspect that this might be why there are few comments. I guess I don't think that my job is a big deal and certainly no more important than any of my nursing colleauges. They probably think the same. Also, I think that there are a few other hot topics in NT this week, so I wonder if attention is elsewhere.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Jan-2013 1:41 pm

    "As a nurse practitioner I assess, diagnose, treat, and discharge patients.
    I am a cheap alternative to a Dr and save lots of money to NHS trust. "

    Is that really the case though I imagine you are paid more than a junior Dr ?

    It seems to me an attempt by governments to undermine the Doctors role.

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  • ANPs are essentially cost neutral to a junior doctor if not slightly more expensive depending on banding. The wage packet at the end of the day is not brilliant for either one. However ANPs do provide more consistency.
    Im not sure how an ANP would undermine a junior doctors role unless you were suggesting that they were providing a substandard service?

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