Advanced nurse practitioner

Advanced nurse practitioner article illustration


Advanced nurse practitioners are in charge of promoting and restoring patients` health, providing diagnosis and care in advanced settings, coordinating care within areas of chronic disease management, providing integrated care, and supervising assigned team members. Advanced nurse practitioners are general care nurses who have acquired an expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills, and clinical competencies for expanded clinical practice on an advanced level.

Advanced nurse practitioners typically perform the following tasks:

  • Conduct comprehensive patient assessments, including medical history, physical exams, and diagnostic tests.
  • Diagnose and manage acute and chronic illnesses, providing appropriate treatment plans and interventions.
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests, such as laboratory work, imaging studies, and screenings.
  • Prescribe medications, including controlled substances, within the scope of their practice and state regulations.
  • Collaborate with physicians, specialists, and other healthcare professionals to ensure coordinated patient care.
  • Develop and implement evidence-based care plans tailored to individual patient needs and preferences.
  • Provide patient education on health promotion, disease prevention, and management of medical conditions.
  • Perform minor procedures and interventions, such as wound care, suturing, and administering injections.
  • Monitor and manage the progress of patients, adjusting treatment plans as needed for optimal outcomes.
  • Act as a resource for patients and families, addressing concerns and providing emotional support.
  • Utilize advanced clinical skills to assess, manage, and stabilize patients in emergency situations.
  • Contribute to healthcare quality improvement initiatives and participate in interdisciplinary rounds.
  • Stay informed about the latest medical advancements, research, and best practices in nursing.
  • Document patient care accurately and maintain electronic health records in compliance with regulations.
  • Collaborate with nursing staff, assisting in their professional development and skill enhancement.
  • Engage in continuing education and pursue advanced certifications to expand clinical expertise.
  • Serve as an advocate for patients, ensuring their rights, preferences, and values are respected.
  • Provide leadership and guidance to nursing teams, especially in settings with less experienced staff.
  • Assist in the management of complex cases, coordinating care across multiple specialties.
  • Support patients and families in making informed decisions about treatment options.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to advanced nurse practitioner:

clinical trials nurse
public health development manager
advanced nurse, team leader
head of community nursing
clinical matron
infection control nurse
service development and governance manager
consultant health visitor
clinical academic
named nurse child protection
operating room nurse manager
staff development manager
advanced nursing practitioner
service manager
advanced nurse
clinical academic nurse specialist
lead practice nurse
advanced nurse manager
team manager
community team leader

Working conditions

Advanced nurse practitioners work in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, and long-term care facilities. They may have flexible schedules that include weekends, evenings, and on-call shifts. The role may involve standing for extended periods, lifting patients, and exposure to potentially infectious diseases.

Minimum qualifications

To become an advanced nurse practitioner, candidates typically need a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing, with specialization in areas such as family practice, adult-gerontology, pediatrics, or acute care. They must also hold national certification in their specialty. Prior experience as a registered nurse is usually required, and many ANPs continue to gain clinical experience as they advance their careers. Licensure as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is essential, and state regulations vary regarding scope of practice and prescriptive authority.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Advanced nurse practitioner is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Advanced nurse practitioner career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to advanced nurse practitioner.

specialist nurse
nurse responsible for general care
specialist biomedical scientist
specialist pharmacist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of advanced nurse practitioner.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of advanced nurse practitioner.

  • Organise homecare for patients: Organise care to be provided in the house of a patient who is housebound with acute and/or long-term health problems.
  • Respond to changing situations in health care: Cope with pressure and respond appropriately and in time to unexpected and rapidly changing situations in healthcare.
  • Educate on the prevention of illness: Offer evidence-based advice on how to avoid ill health, educate and advise individuals and their carers on how to prevent ill health and/or be able to advise how to improve their environment and health conditions. Provide advice on the identification of risks leading to ill health and help to increase the patients’ resilience by targeting prevention and early intervention strategies.
  • Inform policy makers on health-related challenges: Provide useful information related to health care professions to ensure policy decisions are made in the benefit of communities.
  • Provide professional care in nursing: Provide professional care, adequate to the health and nursing care needs of the individuals, families and groups, taking into account the scientific developments, as well as the quality and safety requirements established in accordance with the legal/professional conduct regulations.
  • Contribute to continuity of health care: Contribute to the delivery of coordinated and continuous healthcare.
  • Use e-health and mobile health technologies: Use mobile health technologies and e-health (online applications and services) in order to enhance the provided healthcare.
  • Implement policy in healthcare practices: Establish how policies should be interpreted and translated within the practice, implementing local and national policies, as well as those of your own practice and proposing developments and improvements to service delivery.
  • Promote a positive image of nursing: Present and preserve a positive image of nursing in specific environments of the healthcare and educational spectra.
  • Make clinical decisions: Respond to an information need by collecting and analysing available findings to inform clinical decisions.
  • Empathise with the healthcare user: Understand the background of clients` and patients’ symptoms, difficulties and behaviour. Be empathetic about their issues; showing respect and reinforcing their autonomy, self-esteem and independence. Demonstrate a concern for their welfare and handle according to the personal boundaries, sensitivities, cultural differences and preferences of the client and patient in mind.
  • Lead healthcare services changes: Identify and lead changes in healthcare service in response to patient needs and service demand in order to ensure continuous quality improvement of the service.
  • Contribute to high level health strategic decisions: Contribute to decision-making at clinical, management and policy level, such as the allocation of health funds.
  • Empower individuals, families and groups: Empower individuals, families and groups towards healthy lifestyles and self-care.
  • Diagnose nursing care: A judgment based on a comprehensive nursing assessment.
  • Participate in health personnel training: Participate in the practical training of health personnel on the basis of the knowledge and skills acquired.
  • Implement fundamentals of nursing: Implement the nursing theoretical and methodological fundamentals and principles, basic nursing interventions on scientific evidence and the resources available.
  • Deal with emergency care situations: Assess the signs and be well-prepared for a situation that poses an immediate threat to a person’s health, security, property or environment.
  • Initiate life preserving measures: Initiate life-preserving actions by taking measures in crises and disaster situations.
  • Screen patients for disease risk factors: Carry out examinations on patients in order to detect early signs of illness or risk factors.
  • Provide nursing advice on healthcare: Give advice to, instruct and support persons needing nursing care and their attachment figures.
  • Provide health education: Provide evidence based strategies to promote healthy living, disease prevention and management.
  • Promote human rights: Promote and respect human rights and diversity in light of the physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs of autonomous individuals, taking into account their opinions, beliefs and values, and the international and national codes of ethics, as well as the ethical implications of healthcare provision, ensuring their right to privacy and honouring for the confidentiality of healthcare information.
  • Manage information in health care: Retrieve, apply and share information among patients and healthcare professionals and across healthcare facilities and community.
  • Coordinate care: Coordinate care for patient groups, being able to manage a number of patients within a given amount of time and provide optimum health services.
  • Follow clinical guidelines: Follow agreed protocols and guidelines in support of healthcare practice which are provided by healthcare institutions, professional associations, or authorities and also scientific organisations.
  • Perform health assessment: Autonomously perform comprehensive health assessment, using professional judgement to refer patients requiring specialist attention to other health professionals and agencies as appropriate.
  • Advise on healthy lifestyles: Promote healthy lifestyles, preventive measures and self-care by strengthening empowerment, promoting health and enhancing behaviours and therapeutic compliance, providing patients with the adequate information in order to support compliance with and adherence to prescribed treatments, medication and nursing care.
  • Adapt leadership styles in healthcare: Adapt leadership styles and approaches to different situations concerning nursing clinical practice and healthcare.
  • Apply person-centred care: Treat individuals as partners in planning, developing and assessing care, to make sure it is appropriate for their needs. Put them and their caregivers at the heart of all decisions.
  • Advise on healthcare users’ informed consent: Ensure patients/clients are fully informed about the risks and benefits of proposed treatments so they can give informed consent, engaging patients/clients in the process of their care and treatment.
  • Lead research activities in nursing: Lead and support nursing research initiatives, working within individual care groups and with other agencies, identifying, applying and disseminating research findings related to specialist nursing.
  • Develop advanced health promotion strategies: Identify advanced prevention and health promotion priorities in order to develop and implement relevant strategies within a wider public health agenda.
  • Implement scientific decision making in healthcare: Implement scientific findings for evidence-based practice, integrating research evidence into decision making by forming a focused clinical question in response to a recognised information need, searching for the most appropriate evidence to meet that need, critically appraising the retrieved evidence, incorporating the evidence into a strategy for action, and evaluating the effects of any decisions and actions taken.
  • Prescribe medication: Prescribe medications, when indicated, for therapeutic effectiveness, appropriate to the client`s needs and in accordance with evidence-based practice, national and practice protocols and within scope of practice.
  • Conduct research in advanced nursing care: Identify research priorities in advanced nursing care. Lead, conduct and disseminate research findings that shape and advance nursing practice, education and policy.
  • Comply with quality standards related to healthcare practice: Apply quality standards related to risk management, safety procedures, patients feedback, screening and medical devices in daily practice, as they are recognized by the national professional associations and authorities.
  • Comply with legislation related to health care: Comply with the regional and national legislation that is relevant to one`s work and apply it in practice.
  • Listen actively: Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.
  • Apply nursing care in long-term care: Enable the promotion and the development of nursing care in long term care, co-morbidity and in situations of dependency in order to maintain individuals’ personal autonomy and relationships with the environment in each moment of the health/illness process.
  • Solve problems in healthcare: Carry out actions, by previously identifying and analysing problems, that facilitate seeking the most beneficial solution for the patient, the family and the community, reaching objectives, improving outcomes and keeping the quality of their work.
  • Use electronic health records in nursing: Use electronic health records to document nursing assessment, diagnosis, interventions and outcomes based on comparable nursing classification systems and nursing taxonomy.
  • Apply health sciences: Apply a broad range of bio-medical, psycho-social, organisational, educational, and societal aspects of health, disease, and healthcare to improve healthcare services and to improve quality of life.
  • Clinical decision-making at advanced practice: Apply advanced practice with regard to clinical decision-making, managing the caseload for individual patients, families and communities.
  • Manage personal professional development: Take responsibility for lifelong learning and continuous professional development. Engage in learning to support and update professional competence. Identify priority areas for professional development based on reflection about own practice and through contact with peers and stakeholders.
  • Adhere to organisational guidelines: Adhere to organisational or department specific standards and guidelines. Understand the motives of the organisation and the common agreements and act accordingly.
  • Analyse the care quality: Analyse the quality of care in order to improve the own professional practice as a general care nurse.
  • Delegate activities: Delegate activities and tasks to others according to the ability, level of preparation, competence and legal scope of practice. Make sure that people understand what they should do and when they should do it.
  • Work in a multicultural environment in health care: Interact, relate and communicate with individuals from a variety of different cultures, when working in a healthcare environment.
  • Develop plans related to the transfer of care: Organise transfer of care, when applicable, across a range of healthcare settings, communicating effectively and ensuring that the patient/client and carers are involved in the decision making process.
  • Address problems critically: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of various abstract, rational concepts, such as issues, opinions, and approaches related to a specific problematic situation in order to formulate solutions and alternative methods of tackling the situation.
  • Promote inclusion: Promote inclusion in health care and social services and respect diversity of beliefs, culture, values and preferences, keeping in mind the importance of equality and diversity issues.
  • Prescribe advanced nursing care: Prescribe evidence-based therapeutic interventions and medication, actively monitoring the effectiveness of patients treatments.
  • Interact with healthcare users: Communicate with clients and their carer’s, with the patient’s permission, to keep them informed about the clients’ and patients’ progress and safeguarding confidentiality.
  • Provide treatment strategies for challenges to human health: Identify possible treatment protocols for the challenges to human health within a given community in cases such as infectious diseases of high consequences at the global level.
  • Diagnose advanced nursing care: Examine and diagnose advanced nursing care using evidence based therapeutic interventions.
  • Ensure safety of healthcare users: Make sure that healthcare users are being treated professionally, effectively and safe from harm, adapting techniques and procedures according to the person’s needs, abilities or the prevailing conditions.
  • Mentor other health professionals: Guide, counsel and educate other health professionals about latest practice innovations, act as a mentor and role model, and actively engage in knowledge transfer with patient communities.
  • Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
  • Apply organisational techniques: Employ a set of organisational techniques and procedures which facilitate the achievement of the goals set. Use these resources efficiently and sustainably, and show flexibility when required.
  • Plan advanced nursing care: Outline the advanced nursing care that needs to be provided to patients and citizens, based on the identified nursing diagnoses and define the monitoring process.
  • Develop a collaborative therapeutic relationship: Develop a mutually collaborative therapeutic relationship during treatment, fostering and gaining healthcare users’ trust and cooperation.
  • Apply context specific clinical competences: Apply professional and evidence based assessment, goal setting, delivery of intervention and evaluation of clients, taking into account the developmental and contextual history of the clients, within one`s own scope of practice.
  • Apply sustainability principles in health care: Take into account the sustainability principles in healthcare and strive for the rational use of resources.
  • Evaluate nursing care: Evaluate nursing care assessing mechanisms and processes for continuous quality improvement in nursing care, considering the scientific, technical and ethical development.
  • Work in multidisciplinary health teams: Participate in the delivery of multidisciplinary health care, and understand the rules and competences of other healthcare related professions.
  • Carry out nurse-led discharge: Initiate and lead the discharge process of patients, involving all relevant professionals to expedite discharges. Assist bed and capacity management across the whole hospital.
  • Accept own accountability: Accept accountability for one`s own professional activities and recognise the limits of one`s own scope of practice and competencies.
  • Implement nursing care: Implement nursing care when treating patients in order to improve professional practice.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of advanced nurse practitioner. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

2221 – Nursing professionals

  1. Advanced nurse practitioner – ESCO
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  3. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Career Guide | Nursing License Map
  4. Featured image: By MC3 Andrew Schneider –, Public Domain
Last updated on August 28, 2023