Authors: Meriel Conn and Jean Rankin
Advanced practice roles are developing across the globe due to the increasing need for expert nursing at this level. This has provided opportunities to further establish advanced roles in nursing. In the United Kingdom (UK), the role of the advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) continues to develop. This is in response to the increasing complex challenges in healthcare and changing demands of health needs for more advanced levels of clinical expertise and leadership. In line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Advanced Nurse Practitioner training project was devised and introduced to ascertain a future pathway of palliative and end of life care in the University of the West of Scotland Ayrshire Hospice. A qualitative evaluation of this ANP training project was conducted to explore the impact of this new role within the palliative care team and to the patient’s experience of healthcare. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of 10 health professionals including nursing staff and the wider palliative care multidisciplinary team. A systematic approach was used to analyze and interpret the qualitative data. Findings revealed that the role of the ANP role had key benefits on several levels for palliative and end of life care and services. These included perceived benefits to the patient, their families and to the medical and nursing teams. The ANP demonstrated advanced knowledge, skills and competencies in palliative care. These skills and competencies acquired by the ANP were perceived to have related advantages in the nursing and medical team from a problem-solving, decision-making and clinical leadership perspective.
Keywords: advanced practice, advanced nurse practitioner, ANP role, palliative care, end of life care, advanced nursing skills, clinical leadership, continuity of care, person-centred care planning.