Aim: To explore the regulation of advanced nurse practice internationally and to identify differences and commonalities.
Background: Regulation of advanced practice nursing does not occur in many countries. Ireland is currently in the minority in regulating advanced practice at a national level.
Key issues: Lack of regulation poses difficulties for national governments and for society due to uncertainty in advanced practice concept and role.
Methods: A literature review of 510 scholarly nursing papers published in CINAHL, PubMed and MEDLINE between 2002 and 2013 and 30 websites was undertaken.
Results: There is a lack of consistency in legislative systems internationally. Nursing organisations have recognised advanced nurse practice by regulation in some countries and by voluntary certification in others.
Conclusions: Research has demonstrated that care delivered by advanced nurse practitioners has enhanced patient outcomes yet regulation of advanced practice is not undertaken in most countries.
Implications for nurse manager: Nurse managers need to know that criteria for the regulation of advanced practice are in place and reflect the minimum requirements for safe practice.
Keywords: advanced nurse practice; certification; licensing; professional bodies; regulation; regulatory systems.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.